As Dr Thomas Christopher, the volcanologist from Montserrat comes to the end of his stint this week as lead scientist for La Soufriere volcano in St Vincent and the Grenadines, he says the effusive eruption must continue to be monitored.
In his latest interview with the UWI Seismic Research Centre for ‘La Soufriere Today,’ Christopher says he came to St Vincent and the Grenadines with the mindset of being able to do the exact same kind of thing in Montserrat, but St Vincent’s volcano has proven him wrong.
The volcanologist says La Soufriere’s system is quite different as well as its signals, and he had to adjust what he did in Montserrat to fit St Vincent’s eruption.
He also shared the message which he got from observing the volcano: “We need to keep an eye on it because we are not quite sure what it is going to do and we need to keep monitoring it and react accordingly based on what we’ve seen.”
Christopher assures all updates will be given to NEMO about what the scientists think the volcano is doing.
And speaking about eruptions, the volcanologist also dealt with the misconception amongst some members of the public that the volcano is not erupting.
Christopher says as long as the volcano is pushing magma to the surface, it is an eruption. He says in some cases, eruptions can be very gentle and in La Soufriere’s case, lava is coming out very slowly, building a dome and releasing gas.
He gave this explanation as he understands some people believe the volcano is not erupting because it is not generating explosions.
It was noted that the 1979 eruption in St Vincent and the Grenadines started explosive and went effusive, so the fact that the eruption has gone effusive initially has not ruled out that it could go explosive.
“We know it can go very explosive or just remain effusive but we need to keep monitoring. The volcano poses no threat at the moment to the public,” says Christopher.
It was also mentioned that an effusive eruption is not uncommon for the Caribbean region or unique to St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Christopher will continue to be involved with the ongoing effusive eruption at La Soufriere.