Ambrym Volcano | John Seach

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Ambrym Island, Malampa Province, Vanuatu

16.25 S, 168.12 E
summit elevation 1334 m
Pyroclastic Shield Volcano

Ambrym volcano is the Jewel of the Pacific. Ambrym Island is located in central Vanuatu and contains one of the world's most active volcanoes. Lava lakes regularly appear in the summit craters. Several times per century, Ambrym volcano erupts violently.

Ambrym volcano photos by John Seach

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Benbow crater glow, Ambrym Island, Vanuatu 2007

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Ambrym volcano lava lake 2002

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Mbwelesu lava lake, Ambrym volcano

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Ambrym volcano lava lake 1999 - John Seach

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John Seach preparing to abseil into Ambrym Lava lake crater in 1999

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John Seach inside Ambrym lava lake crater in 1999

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John Seach inside Ambrym lava lake crater in 1999

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John Seach climbing out of Benbow lava lake crater 2002

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Mbwelesu crater, Ambrym Island, Vanuatu

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Ash and steam emission from Benbow crater, Ambrym Island 2007

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Ambrym Filming expedition 2010

More Ambrym volcano photos...

In 1913-14 Ambrym volcano produced the largest eruption in 400 years in Melanesia. The island is located in central Vanuatu along the main shipping lane between Port Vila and Espiritu Santo. The island is also noted for magic, sand drawing, rom dance, and tamtam carvings.

There is only one volcano on Ambrym, not two, as incorrectly stated by some people. Marum crater has not erupted in 60 years. Lava lakes regularly appear in Benbow and Mbwelesu craters. In the 1990's French explorers were the first to descend into Marum crater to view Mbwelesu lava lake.

John Seach has been leading tours to Ambrym Island for 14 years. John has been to the craters at Ambrym volcano on more than 180 times.

The summit of Ambrym Island contains a desert-like caldera covering 100 sq km.
This provides an impressive contrast with the thick jungle covering most of the island. The caldera appears barren but closer inspection shows specialised caldera plants and animals. Even right on the crater rims, there are many insects which thrive in the acid environment. Elsewhere on the caldera there are orchids which prefer the cooler acid environment, and usually fail to survive at sea level.

Ambrym volcano was first climbed in the late 1800's and produced destructive eruptions in 1894, 1913, 1929, and 1951. During the 1980's and 1990's activity included lava lakes in the summit craters. Ambrym volcano is unusual because it produces basaltic lava in a subduction zone.


Spectacular lava lake video at Ambrym 2009 - John Seach

Ambrym Volcano Expeditions
John Seach has been leading expeditions to Ambrym volcano since 1998.

Ambrym lava lake video by John Seach
Ambrym Eruption Reports

Ambrym Volcano Eruptions

1996-2017, 1994, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1986, 1984-86, 1983, 1981, 1980, 1979, 1977, 1973-76, 1972, 1971, 1967-70, 1964-66, 1963, 1961-63, 1960, 1959, 1958, 1957, 1955, 1954, 1953, 1952, 1950-51, 1942, 1938, 1937, 1935-36, 1929, 1915, 1913-14, 1912, 1910, ?1909, 1908, 1898, 1894-95, 1888, 1886, 1884, 1883, 1871, ?1870, 1863-64, 1820?, 1774, 50 AD.