volcano icon Vocano Info

  • Vanuatu's Geodynamical Context

Volcanoes usually occur on active tectonic plate boundaries , but can also occur on the centre of tectonic plates. Plate boundaries are also where many earthquakes and tsunamis occur. Vanuatu lies on a very active tectonic plate boundary which located on the western convergent (where plates meet) boundary of the Pacific Plate. It is also part of the ‘Ring of Fire’, a chain of volcanoes that are located on the edge of the Pacific Plate.



Vanuatu is located between two convergent (or destructive) plates which moves toward each other and one sinks beneath the other. The feature so formed is called the Subduction Zone . The subducting plate melt under high pressure and temperature to form hot magma. This is rises up towards the surface forming chains of volcanoes on the overriding plate that parallel the trench.


As a result of this subduction, volcanoes are allowing this magma to be released at the surface of the earth through volcano products (rocks, gazes, ashes etc…) and volcanic materials.


  • Vanuatu Volcanoes

The Vanuatu archipelago has 16 volcanoes. Local, regional and central government authorities, plus the aviation and tourism industries, media and the public, need to know if there are any changes to the volcanoes' behaviour. The overall activity is quantified by setting a Volcanic Alert Level from 0 to 5 for each volcano. Responding agencies in Vanuatu are notified whenever the alert level changes, and they use it to determine the type and scope of their responses. Volcanic Alert Bulletins are issued whenever there is a significant change in volcanic activity in Vanuatu.

Vanuaatu Volcanoes

  • Types of Volcanic Activities

Different volcanoes have different characteristics based on their geography, geology and historical activity. Many volcanoes in Vanuatu have explosive activity and eject mostly ash or tephra, volcanic gases and lava.