CURRENT ALERT LEVEL ORANGE: There is a highly elevated level of seismic and/or fumarolic activity or other unusual activity. An eruption may begin with less than twenty-four hours’ notice.
The National Emergency Management Organization, in a bulletin issued last week, advised that the Seismic Research Centre and the Soufriere Monitoring Unit Team visited the volcano on Friday 19th March 2021 to conduct a drone aerial survey and to make general observations of any physical changes.
Satellite radar imagery and photographs acquired on March 19, 2021, showed that the lava dome continues to grow, advancing to the north and south since the last radar image that was obtained on the 13th March, 2021.
The new dome continues to grow towards the north-west and south-east with the most active gas emissions being at the top of the new dome, as well as the contact areas between the pre-existing 1979 dome and the 2020-21 dome.
More equipment continues to be installed with two campaign GPS stations installed at Jacob’s Well and Table Rock on Friday 19th March 2021. Work continues on the preparation and testing of a multigas monitoring instrument which will be installed at the volcano.
NEMO and the UWI SRC continues to advise that the gases coming from the new dome are acidic and can cause respiratory harm to human beings. They can also possibly cause unconsciousness and difficulty breathing. The gases can also have a corrosive effect on the skin and eyes, even with short exposure.
There is NO ‘explosive’ eruption at the La Soufrière volcano at this time. La Soufrière continues to have effusive eruptions as hot magma reaches the surface at extreme temperatures. This appears in the night as fire or a bright red glow above the crater. As the dome gets higher and closer to the crater’s rim, this phenomenon will continue to be visible on clear nights.
The alert level remains at Orange. The volcano continues to exude magma on the surface and steam can still be observed from the Belmont Observatory. Persons living in areas close to the volcano should expect strong sulfur smells for several days to weeks, depending on changes in wind direction.
The NEMO 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 and especially going into the crater since doing so is extremely dangerous.
According to the SRC, the new volcanic dome is extremely dangerous for those in close proximity as it can explode at any time without warning. People have been killed in this way.