Volcanology in Melanesia
— An Exploration by Waka

An international team of volcanologists are beginning an ambitious project to better understand the effects of volcanic gas emissions on our atmosphere. To do this, they will sample some of the worlds most inaccessible volcanoes - in a waka.

Using state-of-the-art instrumentation, they will measure gases from volcanoes in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. These Melanesian volcanoes are estimated to emit one third of the world's volcanic gases, yet many have gone completely unstudied.

To overcome the logistical challenges involved, the scientists will sail from island to island in a double-hulled sailing canoe, combining cutting-edge technology with traditional, sustainable ocean transport.

This preliminary trip to Vanuatu was funded by the National Geographic Society.

“There has been a bias towards studying easily-accessible volcanoes in developed countries. An entire section of the Pacific Ring of Fire has escaped systematic investigation.”

“We cannot hope to understand the effects of volcanic degassing on our atmosphere if we continue to ignore the most active volcanoes on Earth.”

“Drones and other technological developments now allow us to sample gases from deep inside volcanic plumes, and to analyse them with high precision.”

“Each volcano presents its own unique logistical challenges. Using the waka gives us the flexibility to carry a lot of equipment, set our own itinerary, and reach otherwise inaccessible islands.”