SALEM – The National Disaster Preparedness and Response Advisory Committee (NDPRAC) has suspended all access to Zone V as they keep an eye on an increase in Sulphur-dioxide measurements at the Soufriere Hills Volcano.
The announcement was made in the Weekly Report for the Period 12 to 19 June 2015 released on the MVO Facebook page on Friday.
According to the report “activity at the Soufrière Hills Volcano remains low, although there has been a notable increase in the sulphur-dioxide flux. All access to Zone V has been suspended for at least two weeks.”
Since early May the MVO has been reporting a noticeable increase in Sulphur-Dioxide of between 422 and 581 tonnes/day, noting that this week’s measure gave an “average flux of 728 tonnes/day with a maximum of 1015 and a minimum of 305 tonnes/day. The weekly average is the highest since February 2013, when values of 929 and 910 were measured.”
The statement said the “increases in sulphur-dioxide flux may lead to further activity, but that is far from certain. At present, there is no significant increase in the level of risk, except for activities in Zone V. As a precaution, NDPRAC has suspended all access to Zone V. This will be in effect for at least two weeks, depending on future values of the MVO monitoring data.
“The seismic network recorded six volcano-tectonic earthquakes this week. Three of these occurred in a brief swarm on 14 June.
“Pyroclastic flows can occur at any time without warning on any side of the volcano, including Gages from where they can travel rapidly into Plymouth. Tracks across the Belham valley are frequently destroyed or heavily modified by flash flooding or lahars, and caution should be exercised crossing the valley during and after rainfall.
“The Hazard Level is 1. There is no access to Plymouth or the rest of Zone V. Maritime Zones E and W are daytime transit only between sunrise and sunset (boats may sail through the zone but must not stop). Anyone who ignores these restrictions is liable to be prosecuted.”