“The current changes that you have, they are not slowing down. They have slightly increased during the last 24hrs and have not decreased since”. Scientist Richard Roberston
(By Ernesto Cooke) – The UWI Seismic Unit says activity at the La Soufriere volcano on the Caribbean Island of St Vincent continued the pattern established after the explosive action on 18 April.
Small long-period and hybrid earthquakes continued to be recorded, with their rate of occurrence increasing gradually over the last 24 hours.
In speaking to the current pattern, Robertson says it is unclear precisely what they mean.
“It could mean that the movements that you have are a sort of battle between the forces that wish to push the material out and the forces that are resisting it”.
Robertson said the volcano is still into the early phase of the volatile component of the eruption; he says something slightly has changed over the last twenty-four hours, indicating something different.
The lead scientist said maybe the forces that are resisting it have stopped things from moving so much to the top, and therefore, materials are trying to force themselves at a faster rate at the bottom.
“It may be indicative of the fact that a dome or something is resisting the movement of material upwards, it may also indicate that stuff below is trying to come out, or it might be a new set of materials which we have always spoken about”.
Robertson said he thinks the next few days will tell whether or not you have another explosion or maybe some dome growth.
The lead scientist says given the conditions now at La Soufriere, which includes a massive crater at the top, there is no clear evidence that there is any blockage. Therefore it should be easy for materials to come out.
“This could happen without any resistance to the top, except the resistance itself is slower and therefore solidifying and stopping or plugin itself”.
Robertson says apart from that; there is nothing else that would provide a force that is unable to pressurize; therefore, the kinds of explosions you might have is less vigorous than what you had before.
Until this period plays out, Robertson says he would advise everyone thinking of heading back to the Red Zone to stay out.
“I know people are going back to clean houses and other things, but I would advise you to stay out and let’s see what happens because we are not sure if explosions will be of the same magnitude or slightly bigger”.
The UWI SRC says the volcano continues to erupt, and its pattern of seismic activity over the last few days is typical of the growth and destruction of lava domes.
Explosions with accompanying ashfall, of similar or larger magnitude, can occur with little or no warning, the UWI SRC said.
Thirteen thousand, three hundred (13,303) persons have been displaced so far. The alert level remains RED.