(By Ernesto Cooke) – Kingstown – The La Soufriere volcano on the Southern Caribbean island of St Vincent continues to ooze magma as of Wednesday 30th December, 2020.
The islands Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves on Wednesday morning said they are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.
On 27th December, a hot spot was seen on NASA Satellite above the volcano.
The image was in the middle of the crater and from Monday the hot-spot or heat source has continued.
On Tuesday scientist from the UWI Seismic Unit in Trinidad, along with officials from the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) in St Vincent, informed the nation that the volcano is now in an effusive stage.
The eruption in October 1971 to March 1972 was largely subaqueous or of an effusive nature occurring in the 180-m-deep crater lake, and resulted in the emergence of a steep-sided island.
On Wednesday morning Gonsalves said that if one considers the 1979 eruption, some 20,000 citizens could be in the path for evacuation.
The Soufriere volcano in St Vincent erupted on April 13, 1979 after 10 months of mild premonitory activity.
A series of strong vertical explosions between 13 and 26 April generated ash falls, pyroclastic flows and mudflows.
From about 3 May 1979 onward, basaltic–andesite lava has been accumulating in the summit crater.
Gonsalves said identifying volcanic shelters have been done, however, at this time the officials are refining the list and ensuring that all are ready in the event of an eruption.
He said NEMO officials will deal with the housing of citizens at shelters.
Arrangements made for women and girls at the volcanic shelters would be of utmost importance, Gonsalves stated.
No order has been given for any evacuation at this time.
Scientist from UWI Seismic Unit in Trinidad is expected to arrive in St Vincent today.
Further Information on La Soufriere (UNESCO)
The island of St Vincent is one of a chain of volcanic islands known as the Lesser Antilles that forms part of an island arc where there is active volcanism.
The volcanic activity is caused by the subduction (underthrusting) of the Atlantic Ocean floor below the Caribbean Sea floor.
La Soufriere volcano located in the northern part of the island is the only active volcano on the island and is one of 20 other live volcanoes located in the Lesser Antilles.
A live volcano is described as a volcano that is currently erupting or has the capacity to erupt again. La Soufriere occupies almost a one third of the island, and embodies several geographical features such as hot springs, several craters and dry rivers.
La Soufrière is one of the most active volcanoes in the Lesser Antilles and has a long history of eruptions with the historical records showing eruptions in 1718, 1812, 1814, 1902-1903, 1971-72 and 1979.
Loss of life was recorded in the 1812 and 1902-03 eruptions when 56 persons died in 1812 and over 1500 in 1902-03.
There are at least 3 extinct volcanic centres on the island located to the south of La Soufriere.
These are the South-East volcanic centre, the Grand Bonhomme centre and the Morne Garu centre.