La Soufrière Update #17: Dome To Continue Glowing On Clear Nights

Incandescent La Soufrière Lava Dome spotted on Saturday night, 16th January 2021 (Social Media)

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.

Visual observations of the La Soufrière Volcano today were limited due to low cloud cover and frequent periods of rain throughout the day according to the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) in St. Vincent. This also did not allow for the completion of the monitoring station on the upper flank of the volcano.

Visual observations of the dome late in the afternoon allowed for clear views into the crater by scientists.

The dome continues to increase in height, to spread laterally, and to emit volcanic gases. The areas of most active gas emissions were noted to be the contact areas between the pre-existing 1979 dome and the 2020-21 dome and the top of this new dome.

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.

An extensive area of burnt vegetation was observed in the western section of the crater floor, extending outwards from the dome.

Analysis of the data from the aerial survey of the dome and the measurement of volcanic gases undertaken on Saturday 16th January 2021 was done today by Dr. Adam Stinton and Dr. Thomas Christopher for most of the day.

The electronics team led by Instrumentation Engineer Lloyd Lynch completed the necessary network connections today to enable the Owia Seismic Station to be brought online. The data is now being transmitted to monitoring scientists. This now brings the total number of seismic stations being used to monitor the volcano to five.

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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