New dome pressing against southern wall of La Soufriere crater

Activity happening close to the southern crater wall inside of the La Soufriere volcano has gained the attention and concern of scientists observing the volcano’s effusive eruption.

Speaking during the start of this week’s update on La Soufriere with the UWI Seismic Research Centre, geologist professor Richard Robertson says a camera was installed at the summit to track the growth of the dome and its effusive rate.

In addition, the professor says special mirrors were also installed which will allow the team to hit it with a beam of light from the flanks which will allow the scientists to measure the distance precisely with that mirror.

Robertson said: “That would allow us to know if the point where the mirror is, which is in the southern crater flank, whether that point is moving. That is associated with concerns we have with the dome which is now pressing against that wall, whether the dome has the ability to move it, which then gets into the possibilities of collapsing and other kinds of hazards.”

The geologist says it is just a precaution to make sure they have that type of information built up so that if it becomes more of a problem, there is data to show the changes.

Robertson also addressed residents’ concerns about steam being emitted from the old dome.

He explained that the crater has a bowl face feature and has a lot of sediment and water due to rainfall. The professor said what has occurred is that a mass of hot rock has come into that bowl and has water in it.

“It heats the water and it eventually boils so a lot of the gas coming out of the volcano whether it is the old or new dome is coming out anywhere there is a crack or space. The new magma is boiling water that is on the ground and the water is finding its way to the surface steaming groundwater,” said Robertson.

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Comments (1)

  1. Sincere thanks to Dr. Robertson, NEMO and other team members with regards to the updates on activities associated with the La Soufriere Volcano.
    I will like to see a practical demonstration/simulation exercise on social media about how to prepare for vacation and a successful evacuation from the area to the evacuation centres. How about some sort of programme of activities when the centres become operational; the choice of the head of the centre and his/her responsibilities; the care of the elderly and vulnerable residents while in the care/supervision of persons within an evacuation centre and a post evacuation evaluation/schedule/re-entering of the area.
    Please continue to give as much assurances as possible so that people’s lives are impacted positively.
    Daily social media feed about the current situation is good.
    The Community Development Officers should now be more visible as they take the lead on community mobilisation to cope with pre and post evacuation if they haven’t done so as yet.
    The Community Development Officers are more familiar with the dynamics of our country meaning this: they know where the vulnerable people live; they have more on the ground knowledge of how to mobilise people to move and act; they know how to get “Tommy” and the “neighbour with ten children next to the Rum Shop” to share food and clothing; they know how to “get Buddy George and Sarah” to co-operate with each other and so much more…
    Drive through is good; announcements are good; spreading the word is good but it is the Community Development Officers that can get our communities to the point of effective transition from place A to place B and back again.
    May God have mercy on our nation especially at this time. Together now!