Growth Of The New Dome At La Soufriere Is Accelerating

(By Ernesto Cooke) – Growth of the new dome at La Soufriere is accelerating. This was stated on Saturday by Professor Richard Robertson head of the UWI Research Unit team currently in St Vincent.

Robertson, Ian Juman, Lloyd Lynch and two others will be assisting local NEMO officials with the monitoring of La Soufriere volcano, which began showing signs of activity on Tuesday 29th December, 2020.

Speaking on state radio Saturday 2nd January, Robertson said the new dome is expanding further west of the 1979 dome, and is growing in size.

He said as the dome or the black rock that persons would have seen in videos is incandescent and will glow at nights.

“It is what we expected, and once effusion starts at La Soufriere it can continue for several weeks or months”.

From October 1971 to March 1972, lava was quietly extruded inside the mile-wide crater. The eruption was largely effusive and resulted in the emergence of a steep-sided island.

Robertson stated, if the La Soufriere were to have an explosive eruption ash can reach east to Barbados and even further.

The 1979 eruptions were so powerful ash fell on Barbados, 180 km to the east, on the afternoons of 13 and April.

At each eruption the mushrooming clouds reached up to 8,000 feet, and were readily visible from Kingstown. Each explosion was followed by the deposition of a thin layer of ash over the entire island, heavier in the northern part.

“ Unfortunately I don’t have good news for Vincentians, given the historical nature of the La Soufriere, and because of such, we have to remain on high alert”, Professor Robertson continued.

Robertson said the volcano can go from effusive to explosive in a very short time, and we are very uncertain how long that time is”.

At dawn, on the 13th of April 1979, the La Soufriere Volcano in northern St. Vincent erupted. Six hours earlier the Government of St. Vincent had been warned that a highly abnormal situation existed and that an eruption was likely in the coming hours.

One of the things Robertson said they do when monitoring is give the authorities as much time as they can, however, since there is no guarantee,people need to listen to the official sources for information.

On Saturday a Web Cam Monitoring System was installed at Rose Hall to constantly monitor the summit of the Volcano.

A Data Centre was also established at the Observatory at Belmont, to analyse the data collected from the volcano.

The UWI Seismic team also conducted an alternate site exploration on Saturday at Fancy and other areas to identify new sites where equipment will be installed.

Alert level remains at Orange. No evacuation order or notice has been issued.

Further Reading On 1979 Eruption

The 1979 eruption began with only a very short period of unrest, starting with a strong local earthquake on April 12.

Eruptive activity began with a series of short-lived but violent explosions and that lofted a series of ash plumes, high into the sky on Good Friday, April 13, 1979.

This heralded two weeks of vigorous activity that peaked with an 18 km high plume on April 17, and ended, with the cessation of measurable seismicity on April 29.

After this, the eruption switched to the quiet extrusion of lava, slowly forming the dome that still sits in the crater today.

Portions of this article were extracted from – GEORGETOWNSVGREVISITED.

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