Yasur Volcano | John Seach


Tanna Island, Tafea Province, Vanuatu

19.52 S, 169.42 E,
summit elevation 405 m,

Yasur volcano, in southern Vanuatu is one of the world's most active volcanoes. The volcano has erupted many times per hour for at least 800 years. Yasur has been called the "Lighthouse of the Pacific" because of the regular Strombolian eruptions visible from sea.

Yasur volcano is considered one of the most active volcanoes in the world, making it a popular destination for volcano adventure tourism. The volcano's activity is closely monitored by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department using techniques such as seismology, gas measurements, and thermal imaging. This monitoring helps to understand the volcano's behavior and to predict potential hazards, such as ashfall and lava flows. 

Yasur volcano photos by John Seach

Yasur volcano - John Seach

Warning: Approaching the crater at Yasur volcano is dangerous at any time! Observers are at risk from projectiles, toxic gas and avalanches. Tourists regularly put their lives in danger by approaching too close to the crater. There is no safe viewing location at the crater's edge. See photos below of a dangerous incident at the volcano.

Volcanic activity levels which are quoted for the volcano do not provide a reliable safety guide. Any size eruption can happen at the volcano at any time.

Yasur volcano consists of a pyroclastic cone and ash plain. The active cone is located within the Yenkahe caldera. The volcano slopes are composed of grey unconsolidated ash and ejecta. The prevailing SE trade winds deposit fine ashfall over most of Tanna Island. The first written records of Yasur eruptions date to Cook's visit in 1774.

2023 Eruptions
During an expedition to Yasur volcano in February 2023 John Seach observed strombolian and mild vulcanian eruptions. Explosions sent lava bombs to a height of 300 m. There were three active vent inside the crater. The previous bench in the crater had collapsed allowing good views into the crater.  Some lava bombs were ejected close to the observation point on the SE crater rim. 

2022 Eruptions
During an expedition to Yasur volcano by John Seach in October 2022, the volcano was showing Strombolian and mild Vulcanian eruptions. Ash emissions which has caused severe damage to crops had decreased, however ash was still a problem in the areas surrounding the volcano. Multiple vents were active inside the main crater.  

2020 Eruptions
Normal explosive activity occurred at Yasur volcano in 2020.

2016 Eruptions
Mild strombolian eruptions continued at Yasur volcano in January 2016.

2015 Cyclone
Super tropical cyclone Pam made a direct hit over Yasur volcano on 14th March 2015.

2013 Eruptions
Beginning October 2013 increased activity occurred at Yasur volcano, Vanuatu. A large amount of ash emissions caused widespread damage to vegetation on Tanna Island. Ashfall was reported at Erromango Island 150 km north of Yasur volcano. On the evening of 3rd November 2013 John Seach witnessed large strombolian eruptions at Yasur. Explosions sent molten lava bombs up to 4 m diameter 250 m from the vent. Bombs were expelled onto the outside flanks of the cone, putting visitors at risk. The eruptions were some of the largest at the volcano since 1995.

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Strombolian eruption, Yasur volcano

Yasur volcano, Vanuatu

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Yasur eruption

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Yasur volcano, Vanuatu 2009

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Yasur volcano and crater glow 2010

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Dangerous place to watch Yasur volcano - see below for what happens next!

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Volcanic bomb narrowly misses tourists at Yasur volcano

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Yasur volcano December 2010

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Yasur eruption December 2010

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Fern covered in ash from 2013 eruption of Yasur volcano

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Yasur volcano Jungle

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Port Resolution, Tanna Island from SE side of Yasur caldera

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Algae growing in hot springs, Yasur volcano

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Lake Siwi and Yasur volcano in 2000

Location of former lake Siwi - drained in 2000

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Custom village near Yasur volcano

24 years of tours to Yasur volcano
John Seach has been leading tours to Yasur for 24 years. John has been to the crater at Yasur volcano on more than 200 times.

Further reading
Simons, B. C., et al. "Spatiotemporal relationships between two closely-spaced Strombolian-style vents, Yasur, Vanuatu." Geophysical Research Letters 47.5 (2020): e2019GL085687.

Woitischek, Julia, et al. "Strombolian eruptions and dynamics of magma degassing at Yasur Volcano (Vanuatu)." Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 398 (2020): 106869.

Firth, C.W., Handley, H.K., Cronin, S.J. and Turner, S.P., 2014. The eruptive history and chemical stratigraphy of a post-caldera, steady-state volcano: Yasur, Vanuatu. Bulletin of Volcanology76(7), p.837.

Peltier, A., Finizola, A., Douillet, G.A., Brothelande, E. and Garaebiti, E., 2012. Structure of an active volcano associated with a resurgent block inferred from thermal mapping: The Yasur–Yenkahe volcanic complex (Vanuatu). Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research243, pp.59-68.

Yasur Volcano Eruptions

1774-2024 continuing...
Eruptions are Strombolian and mild Vulcanian.