La Soufrière Update #25: New Scientific Team Monitoring Volcano

The scientific and technical teams from UWI SRC and the MVO with the Calvin Air Team (NEMO St. Vincent and the Grenadines)

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 a new scientific and technical team is now on the ground in St. Vincent to monitor the La Soufrière Volcano.

The Team from The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC) returned to Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday 27th January, 2021, on board the Regional Security System (RSS) aircraft. They are Geologist Professor Richard Robertson, Instrumentation Engineer Lloyd Lynch and Engineering Technician Ian Juman.

Volunteers and local community members support the team from UWI-SRC during the installation of seismic stations at the summit of the volcano. (Richard Robertson, UWI-SRC)
Volunteers and local community members support the team from UWI-SRC during the installation of seismic stations at the summit of the volcano. (Richard Robertson, UWI-SRC)

A three-member Team from the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre comprising of Scientist Dr. Micheal Camejo-Harry, Technician Garth Mannette, and Project Manager, Volcano Ready Project, Monique Johnson-Lynch, arrived in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Wednesday 27th January 2021 onboard the Regional Security System (RSS) aircraft to continue the work being done on the Monitoring Network. This new Team will be led by Thomas Christopher, Scientists from the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) based at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO).

A briefing was done yesterday to update the new Team on the work completed thus far on the Monitoring Network plans to chart the way forward.

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 Team from the UWI Seismic Research Centre and the Soufrière Monitoring Unit will spend the next few days scouting air mark sites to carry out the EDM surveys and install more reflectors inside the base at the volcano for the EDM target.

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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