La Soufrière Update #24: Vegetation Damage Expanding

The summit of the La Soufrière Volcano on 23rd January 2021 showing the growing dome and burnt vegetation. (Rommel De Freitas)

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.

The National Emergency Management Organization, in their latest bulletin, advised that there was a generally clear view of the volcano, allowing scientists to view damage to the vegetation due to acidic gases creeping downslope.

The monitoring team spent the entire day at the Belmont Observatory involved in further preparation of the facility for eventual full-time occupation by monitoring scientists. They also spent time sorting equipment for eventual field deployment.

The summit of the La Soufrière Volcano on 23rd January 2021 showing the growing dome and burnt vegetation. (Rommel De Freitas)

NEMO and the SRC will be hosting a Virtual Community Meeting with residents of Georgetown on Tuesday 26th January 2021, beginning at 6:00 p.m. to update residents on the latest development at the La Soufriere Volcano and to discuss the Georgetown Community Evacuation Plan. This meeting will be broadcast live on NBC Radio, VC3 TV, NEMOSVG Facebook Live, UWI Seismic YouTube Channel and UWI TV Global.

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.

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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