Dr Richard Robertson (left) and Professor Dale Webber inspect the buried and abandoned city of Plymouth at the foot of the Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat. Photo: Roderick Stewart/MVO.

Highlights from the 21st SAC Report on Montserrat Volcanic Activity

The following information is shared from the 21st Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) report on volcanic activity at Soufriere Hills and is based on a meeting held between November 7 th and 10th, 2016 at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, Montserrat.

“There has been no significant surface activity at the volcano during the last year and the current pause has extended to six and a half years. The absence of any pyroclastic flow or major rock fall activity implies that the major part of the lava dome remains stable. However, temperatures of volcanic gases that escape through fractures and fumaroles have remained high.

“Seismicity overall has remained on a low level except for occasional short bursts of volcano tectonic earthquakes. Observations of ground deformation indicate that the volcano remains in a state of internal unrest and that magma accumulation in a deep reservoir is still ongoing.

“Comparable to last year, our estimates remain at the similar level of risk to the people of Montserrat due to potential hazards from the volcano. For people living or working in Zone A we estimate the odds of an individual’s death due to volcanic activity in the next year at about 1-in-50 million. For Zone B we estimate those odds at about 1-in- 1.7 million, and for Zone C at about 1-in-110,000.

Volcanic Hazards

“The major part of the lava dome remains stable but continuing erosion has the potential to destabilize steep parts of the dome. Hazards from rock falls, pyroclastic flows of limited reach, minor explosions and mudflows remain a possibility over the next year, even without lava extrusion. A collapse of the dome, with more extensive pyroclastic flows, also remains possible but less likely.

Risks in Zone V

“Activities taking place in Zone V such as sand exports (from Plymouth), geothermal drilling, police operations, animal projects, metal reclamation, filming and tourist trips need to be managed in co-operation with the MVO.”

Read the full report here http://www.mvo.ms/pub/SAC_Reports/SAC21-Summary_Report.pdf