The Caribbean Island Of St Vincent and the Grenadines Is Preparing For Three Different Scenarios As It Pertains To La Soufriere Volcano.
By Ernesto Cooke
Following the sampling of gases from the La Soufriere volcano, scientists have concluded that;
1 . The dome may continue growing to a point and stop.
2. The dome will continue to grow; if this occurs, it can get out of the crater and move down the volcano’s flanks into the sea. This would occur on the Leeward side of St Vincent.
This would have implications for the communities of Richmond, Chateaubelair and Fitz Hughes.
3 . An explosive eruption may occur following the effusive phase or following a break in the ongoing eruption.
With these scenarios in mind, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves on Monday 18th January 2021, reminded Vincentians to have their own family emergency plan.
“It is even more imperative to have this emergency plan if you are living in the red or orange zone according to the volcano hazard map”.
The red zones are communities from Fancy to Georgetown on the windward side and Fitz Hughes, Richmond, and Chateabelair on the island’s Leeward side.
In the event of an explosive eruption, the aforementioned are the communities that would be evacuated.
However, With the dome building predominantly on the Western side of the volcano, the town of Chateaubelair and the village of Fitz Hughes would be among the first to be evacuated.
The orange zone is immediately south of Georgetown on the Windward and south of Chateaubelair on the Leeward side.
NEMO’s Work In Northern Communities
Members of Staff of NEMO and Professor Richardson Robertson were in the villages of Chateaubelair and Fitz-Hughes on the Leeward side of the island on Monday 18th January 2021, updating residents via the PA system, on current activities at the volcano, preparedness in the family and the meeting points in each community if an evacuation order is issued.
This activity will continue on Tuesday 19th January 2021, in the Petit Bordel, Rose Bank, Rose Hall and Troumaca areas.
The National Emergency Management Organisation is reminding the public that no evacuation order or notice has been issued.
Further Reading On La Soufriere
La Soufriere is about 180 miles (300 km) south of the volcano with the same name on Guadeloupe.
However, Soufriere on St. Vincent is a far more dangerous volcano.
The 1.6-km wide summit crater, whose NE rim is cut by a crater formed in 1812, lies on the SW margin of the 2.2-km-wide Somma crater, which is breached widely to the SW as a result of slope failure.
The volcano’s first historical eruption took place during 1718; it and the 1812 eruption produced major explosions.
Much of the island’s northern end was devastated by a major eruption in 1902 that coincided with Martinique’s catastrophic Mount Pelée eruption.
A lava dome was emplaced in the summit crater in 1971 during a strictly effusive eruption, forming an island in a lake that filled the crater before an eruption in 1979. The lake was then largely ejected during a series of explosive eruptions, and the dome was replaced with another.
It is a stratovolcano with a crater lake. Violent eruption occurred in 1718, 1812, and 1902. The 1902 eruption killed 1,600 people. There were also eruptions in 1971-1972 and 1979.
The 1979 eruption started with less than 24 hours of precursor activity. The first episode lasted less than two weeks.