Staff at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory are working closely with their colleagues at the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) in Trinidad & Tobago on increased seismic activity at La Soufriere in St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
Dr. Graham Ryan, Director at the MVO said they “We have been in meetings with SRC discussing the data and also adding information that we have.”
“MVO stands ready to continue to offer assistance. Beyond being sister regional organisations, MVO has a particularly close bond with SRC as the scientific staff of MVO are also SRC staff members. The situation in St. Vincent does not directly affect the situation in Montserrat,” added Dr. Ryan.
Prime Minister of St. Vincent & the Grenadines Dr. Ralph Gonsalves held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to provide information on the activity at the volcano, which has not had an eruption since the 1970s. Visits to the volcano, which is a tourist attraction have been halted and the public is asked to stay away.
The SVG Ministry of Foreign Affairs shared notes from the briefing, which appear unedited below:
1. In early November, there was a report of increased seismic activity at the La Soufriere volcano.
2. The largest seismic event was a magnitude 3.3 on December 16th, 2020.
3. On December 27th, there was a hotspot in the crater as noted by a NASA satellite.
4. Earlier today, there was confirmation that there are emissions of magma.
5. There was an explosion of black mass from the pre-existing lake.
6. There is an ongoing eruption coming from that lake.
7. The mass is confined to the crater. The hazard is in the crater.
8. The steam you see inside is gas being released. If you are standing on the crater rim, you will have difficulty breathing. Please do not visit the volcano at this time.
9. If the eruption remains confined there will be no hazard.
10. Essentially, there is a new dome growing on the side of the existing dome.
11. There is an effusive eruption – slow emission of magma. It is not an explosive explosion eruption which is the more dangerous of the two types of eruption. There will be close monitoring as both can occur together.
12. More data is needed to determine if the effusive eruption will become an explosive eruption. There will be sufficient warning to evacuate if there is increased hazard.
13. The best case scenario is a limited effusive eruption.
14. The dome is not growing; a new dome is being created. A new mountain is being created in the crater.
15. Stuart Young, Minister of National Security in Trinidad and Tobago has confirmed that approval has been granted for a team from UWI Seismic Centre to travel to travel to SVG using RSS aircrafts.
New lava dome growing inside the old crater at the La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG Ministry of Foreign Affairs Photo)