Vanuatu (formerly called the New Hebrides Islands) is a line of volcanic islands and submarine volcanoes 1,400 miles (2,300 km) east of northeast Australia. There are 13 main islands, nine of which are home to active volcanoes. Espiritu Santo and Malekula are older islands made of Miocene (5-24 million years old) andesitic volcanic rocks. Volcanic rocks on Maewo and Pentecost islands are also Miocene in age. Map with islands (names on left) and volcanoes (names to right of islands) from Fisher (1957).

The geologically recent tectonic history of this region is complex. Colley and Warden suggested that the Miocene volcanic rocks were related to south-westward directed subduction. Present-day volcanism is related to the north-eastward directed subduction of the Australian Plate beneath the edge of the Pacific Plate. The two plates converge at a rate of about 9 cm/year. A divergent plate boundary (called a spreading center or spreading axis) is east of Vanuatu. Modified from Monzier and others (1997).

Volcanoes of Vanuatu

East Epi
Mere Lava
North Vate
Traitor's Head

Sources of information on the volcanoes of Vanuatu (New Hebrides Islands).

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