New Equipment Would Give NEMO Time To Activate Emergency Responses

La Soufrière Volcano, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines

PRESENT ACTIVITY: Effusive eruption, ongoing fumarolic activity, continued growth of the new volcanic dome, and increased seismic activity


(By Ernesto Cooke) – The United States Geological Survey (USGS) through its Volcano Disaster Assistance Programme (VDAP) donated a quantity of equipment to St Vincent and the Grenadines National Emergency Management Organisation.

The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government.

The Volcano Disaster Assistance Program was developed by USGS and the United States Agency for International Development after Nevado del Ruiz’s eruption in 1985.  

The volcanic eruption melted a glacier triggering a lahar that killed 25,000 people.

 Among the donation is equipment to build four seismic stations and radios to enhance communications.

Three of the stations are solar-powered installations with post-hole seismometers and the fourth a spider seismometer.

The spider seismometer is designed for rapid deployment in high-risk locations and would minimize human exposure to hazards, e.g. (volcanic craters).

 These unit consist of an aluminium case that contained batteries and a weatherproof plastic case that enclosed the electronic components, and it is (approximately 70 kg). 

NEMO says the spider seismometer will support near crater monitoring.

In the event of escalated volcanic activity at La Soufriere, enhanced monitoring would allow scientists to alert NEMO with sufficient time to activate appropriate emergency responses.

NEMO staff conducted a drive-through in the Gorse and Colonaire communities on Friday 12th February 2021. 

The purpose of this drive-through was to update residents on the state of the La Soufrière Volcano and to provide information on evacuation procedures and individual preparedness.

The National Emergency Management Organisation is reminding the public that no evacuation order or notice has been issued.

NEMO continues to appeal to the public to desist from visiting the La Soufrière Volcano, especially going into the crater, since doing so is extremely dangerous.

La Soufriere last erupted in 1979.

Situation Overview

On 29th December 2020, the alert level for the La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines was elevated to Orange because of increased activity at the site.

The volcano has had an effusive eruption, with visible gas and steam eruption and the formation of a new volcanic dome.

The volcano continues to exude magma on the surface and gas emissions can be observed from the Belmont Observatory.

A UWI Seismic Research Centre team is currently in St. Vincent to support monitoring and data collection and analysis.

An Orange Level alert means that there is highly elevated seismicity or fumarolic activity, or both, or other highly unusual symptoms. Eruptions may occur with less than 24 hours notice.

Monitoring systems are continuously manned and there is a regular visual inspection of potential vent areas as well as continuous ground deformation and hydrothermal monitoring.

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