La Soufrière Emitting Fatal Gases

Image of the new La Soufrière volcanic dome taken on Thursday 14th January 2021 by a team of scientists from the UWI SRC, NEMO, and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.

Present La Soufrière Alert Level:YELLOWThe La Soufrière Volcano is restless. Seismicity and/or fumarolic activity are above the historical level at the volcano, or other unusual activity has been observed. This unusual activity will be specified at the time that the alert level is raised. This is level two of four.

Aerial surveillance has discovered the new La Soufrière volcano dome is emitting carbon dioxide, in addition to sulfur dioxide – both of which can be fatal.

On Thursday 14th January 2021, a Rotary Helicopter that will be used in the surveillance of the La Soufrière Volcano arrived from Antigua today. The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI SRC) Scientists Professor Richard Robertson, Dr. Thomas Christopher, and Dr. Adam Stinton conducted an aerial reconnaissance of the La Soufrière Volcano on board the helicopter.

New photos of #LaSoufrière on January 14th, 2021 as scientists from the Montserrat Volcano Observatory begun gas…

Posted by Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center on Thursday, January 14, 2021

While aerial surveillance was not perfect, according to the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), scientists got a first-hand view of the volcano. They were able to take thermal images of heat distribution, gas emission, and dimension measurement of the new dome.

The dome continues to grow and is slightly higher and bigger than previously. It is growing laterally towards the east and west.

Thermal images were taken to determine the distribution of heat on the new dome. However, conditions were not good for the estimate of temperature. The scientists will need to repeat this exercise as the gases coming out of the volcano were moving around and difficult to measure.

During the survey of the crater, special cameras took photographs of the dome that will be used to estimate its volume.

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 sulphur smells for several days to weeks, depending on changes in wind direction.

Scientists completed work on the Seismic Station in Owia today, while work on the Fancy Station commenced today.

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.

The @uwiseismic and NEMO continue to advise access to the #LaSoufriere Volcano is strictly prohibited at this time….

Posted by Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center on Thursday, January 14, 2021

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. This warning comes as images from a birthday photoshoot surfaced on social media over the last 24 hours.

Volcanic Hazard Map for the La Soufrière Volcano, St. Vincent (UWI SRC/NEMO)
Volcanic Hazard Map for the La Soufrière Volcano, St. Vincent (UWI SRC/NEMO)

Official information will originate from St. Vincent and the Grenadines National Emergency Management Organization and the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center.

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