New Dome At St Vincent’s La Soufriere Volcano May Fill Crater

(By Ernesto Cooke) – Kingstown, St Vincent – As of Monday 4th, January 2021, effusive eruptions continue at the La Soufriere volcano located on the Southern Caribbean island of St Vincent.

 More Focus Now On Growth Of The New Dome

Professor Richard Robertson of the UWI Seismic Unit who is currently in St Vincent along with his team to monitor activities at La Soufriere says, there main focus now is to ascertain the growth rate of the new dome.

On 29th December, 2020, images showed that a new dome was located on the western side of the crater of La Soufriere located on the northern tip of St Vincent.

on Saturday Professor Robertson said that growth of the new dome at La Soufriere is accelerating, and if the effusive eruptions continues there is the possibility it can fill the crater.

If growth continues at this pace within the crater, the expanding dome can get close to the crater rim, he said.

“ As it gets close to the crater rim, it is possible in the night the magma which is incandescent will glow, that glow might be visible from surrounding areas”.

Robertson said that an area of concern is whether lava would start spilling over into Larikai.

“The good news is that there are no settlement at Larikai”.

More Monitoring of La Soufriere

Robertson and his team on Sunday 3rd January, 2021 were putting together kits which would be placed on the mountains adjacent to La Soufriere, this he said would offer more details of the volcanic activity taking place.

Government is now seeking helicopter support to carry out work on the summit and collect rock samples from the new dome.

On Friday January 1st the re-inspecting and upgrading of all the seismic sites was carried out.

A new GPS station was also installed at Georgetown, this new station will be able to detect signals from the volcano.

Robertson said the current danger posed by the volcano is mainly in the crater itself and is again calling on nationals to avoid the area.

No New Volcanoes Will Emerge Across St Vincent

The theories about new volcanoes emerging across the island due to activity at La Soufriere was discredited by Professor Richard Robertson on Sunday.

The Geologist stated; “No such thing is going to happen, people need not burden themselves with that”.

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

The team of scientists who arrived on Thursday 31st December is expected to remain in St Vincent for one month in the first instance.

North Windward Disaster Committees To Meet

As the alert level remains at Orange and the La Soufriere Volcano continues to exude magma, disaster committees in North Windward will meet.

The Committees will meet this week to sensitize residents living in the surrounding villages, and to update their community evacuation plans.

NEMO has been working with the northern communities for several years and in 2020 activated and tested the national emergency plan for volcanic emergency”.

National Emergency Plan

The National Disaster Response Plan for St. Vincent and the Grenadines is designed to enhance the capacity of the government to prepare for, respond to, and recover from, disasters.

The plan outlines basic procedures for returning the country to a state of normalcy as quickly as possible following a disaster.

It includes; the establishment of a national emergency operations center, the structure of the various emergency committees, the roles and functions of Government Ministries and key departments, public utilities, statutory bodies, non-governmental and other voluntary organisations.

The primary objectives of the National Disaster Response Plan are to:

Prevent the loss of life and property, in the event of a disaster, natural or man-made.

Establish policies and procedures to guide the effective implementation of response, relief and rehabilitation measures.

Provide technical guidance to NEMO personnel in Emergency Operations Management. (NEMO.GOV.VC)

Further Reading

Due to increase activity, persons living in areas close to the volcano should expect strong Sulphur smells for several days to weeks, depending on changes in wind direction.

At 1,234 m (4,049 ft), La Soufrière is the highest peak on Saint Vincent. La Soufrière violently erupted in 1718, 1812,1902 and 1979.

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