Rocks From St Vincent’s La Soufriere Volcano Sent To The UK For Analysis

La Soufriere Volcano, located on the Caribbean island of St Vincent and the Grenadines, remains effusive. An Orange Alert has been issued which means an eruption may begin with less than 24 hours’ notice.

By Ernesto Cooke

Rocks taken from the new dome that emerged at the La Soufriere volcano is being sent to the United Kingdom for investigation.

This was disclosed by the country’s Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves on state radio, Wednesday 20th January 2021.

“I spoke with the Director of NEMO Michelle Forbes who told me they are sending some rocks to the UK for analysis”.

NEMO, the National Emergency Management Organization, was established in January of 2002 to mitigate against disasters, prepare for disasters, respond to disasters, and recover from disasters’ impact in the shortest possible time in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Gonsalves said he was advised that the analysis of the rocks would take about one month.

In its last report on 18th January, NEMO indicated that there appears to have been little increase in the dome’s height.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister stated that the Government would be strengthening the La Soufriere monitoring Unit capacity.

“We would be putting into the budget for a Geophysicist/scientists and an engineer to handle the upkeep of the equipment”.

On Monday 18th January 2021, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves told citizens to prepare for three scenarios, this following the sampling of gases from the volcano.

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.

Members of Staff of NEMO and Professor Richardson Robertson were in Chateaubelair and Fitz-Hughes’ villages on the Leeward side of the island on Monday 18th January 2021.

Their mission was to update 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 continued 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.

Notes From UWI -SRC

Volcanic gases can be harmful in high concentrations. At this time the concentrations are highest in the crater and at the summit of La Soufrière but persons in surrounding villages may be sensitive to the smells even though the gases have become diluted.

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