https://www.cbsnews.com/news/vanuatu-underwater-volcano-erupts-east-epi-warnings/Vanuatu's East Epi underwater volcano erupted Wednesday [2 Feb, 2023], hurtling ash into the sky and leading authorities to warn ships and aircraft to avoid the area.
The volcano lies 68 kilometers north of the capital Port Vila.
The Wellington VAAC reported that a low-level plume of ash and sulfur dioxide from a new eruption at Epi was identified in satellite data at 0730 on 31 January. According to the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) residents saw steaming at the ocean’s surface in the area over the vents at around 0748, and phreatic explosions that ejected steam and tephra 100 m above the water. The Alert Level was raised to 1 (on a scale of 0-5) and the public was warned to stay 10 km away from the East Epi submarine volcano. Observers reportedly saw a growing cone from ongoing ash emissions. The VAAC noted that the eruption was short-lived and had ceased by 1548; the ash had dissipated.
Three submarine cones, Epi A, Epi B, and Epi C, and smaller cones and craters, are located 10-16 km NNE from the summit of Epi Island and are aligned along the N rim of an inferred caldera. Epi B is the shallowest of the seamounts and has been historically active, most recently in February 2004. A March 2004 bathymetric survey revealed that Epi B was about 300 m tall, with a diameter of about 1.8 km at the base. The summit crater was about 150 m in diameter and the crater floor was at a depth of 90 m. The highest point was on the NW rim of the summit crater, at a depth of 34 m.