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South Seas Volcano Threatens Thousands April 23, 2010
Mount Garat
Aerial view of Mount Garat during more quiet times.
The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu is preparing to evacuate almost 3,000 villagers if a volcano that has been rumbling for months becomes violent.

There have been at least 13 eruptions at Mt. Garat since 1963, with the mountain spewing ash and sulphur on crops across the island of Gaua as recently as last October.

Seismologists say recent activity has been significantly more powerful and unstable.

“Last year it was just some explosions and some ash falling but at the moment the activity is becoming more interesting,” disaster planning officer Peter Korisa told Agence France Presse.

He said that 2,700 people could be ferried off the island if Mt. Garat becomes more dangerous.

Photo: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory