La Soufrière Update – New Cracks, Gas Emissions Form

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. (Thomas Christopher)

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. (Thomas Christopher)

Present La Soufrière Alert Level:ORANGEThere 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.

New observations have discovered the new La Soufrière volcano is now about three-quarter (3/4) the height of the pre-existing 1979 dome. Growth of the dome continues with lateral spreading of the material towards the east and west in the “moat” areas of the existing 1979 dome.

In addition, gas emissions have been observed from several areas of the 1979 done, as well as the crater floor through several new cracks which have developed, in addition to gas emissions from the new lava dome.

Acidic gases continue to affect the nearby vegetation, with extensive damage observed within the eastern, southern, and western parts of the inner crater walls. The damage reported previously occurring along the upper part of the southwestern crater rim has continued to extend downslope slowly.

Work continued today by scientists at the La Soufrière Volcano, with the helicopter’s support. An observation flight was conducted this morning by Professor Robertson and Dr. Stinton, one of the two scientists who arrived on Wednesday to provide support to the UWI SRC Team.

Installation of a new seismic and continuous GPS monitoring station began on the upper southern flank of the volcano by a team led by Instrumentation Engineer, Lloyd Lynch of the UWI SRC.

Volunteers and local community members supporting the team from SRC during the installation of seismic stations at the summit of the volcano

Posted by NEMO St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday, January 15, 2021

Conditions were not ideal but allowed for scientists to have clear views mainly into the western parts of the crater.

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.

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.

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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