“Confusion Amongst Vincentians Regarding The Ongoing Eruption”

The effusive eruption, ongoing fumarolic activity, expansion of the new dome, and increased seismic activity continue at La Soufriere volcano on St Vincent and the Grenadines. The country remains on Orange Alert.

(By Ernesto Cooke) – The lead scientist with the UWI-SRC team in St Vincent says there is some confusion amongst the Vincentian population regarding whether or not the La Soufriere volcano is erupting.

Dr Thomas Christopher says as long as the Volcano is pushing magma or lava to the surface, it is an eruption.

He says these eruptions could be very gentle in some cases, which is the case now where you have lava coming out slowly while building a dome and releasing gas.

He says they can be quite violent in other cases, as was the 1979 and 1902 eruption.

“So and effusive eruption, an example of that would be 1971 eruption, as we’ve seen this volcano has done this before, so I guess the fact that it’s not generating explosions some people think that it’s not an eruption, but it is”, Christopher says.

Dr Christopher stated this is the sort of eruption you want, these gentle ones which are non-violent and not so much threatening unless you’re right up next to the crater rim or trying to go down into the crater.

“One of the things that this sort of eruption would do is generate gases because they tend to be less drawn out compared to the explosive eruptions where explosions tend to happen in quick succession, stop and go away”.

Dr Christopher says Vincentians must keep in mind that you can have effusive eruptions that last for months or even years.

“In this effusive state, what you have now is just a constant expulsion of gas from this volcano and as quite a few people have seen in images the damage to the vegetation from the gases coming out”.

The scientist, says so far; the good thing is that there is no village or town near the downwind, so very few people breathe in the gas.

“So yes, at present, it’s erupting, but it’s still a gentle eruption, and it’s not dangerous to the population”, says Dr Christopher.

No Evacuation Notice

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.

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