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.