La Soufrière Update #26: 573 Earthquakes Recorded In 25 Days

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 since the installation of station on the 6th January on the flanks of the volcano at Wallibou, and the one at the summit, on the 18th January, 573 earthquakes have been recorded, up to 7:30 AM 30th January 2021.

In addition, three (3) GPS stations are currently streaming data to Seismic Research Centre. Telemetry of the data being collected from the new GPS station installed at the Richmond Vale Academy on 23 January, is still ongoing. Since 31 December 2020, no significant deformation signals related to the current effusive eruption have been observed.

Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) reflectors were installed at the summit on January 25th to assist with measurements of deformation associated with the flanks of the volcano. On January 29th, 12 locations were identified as potential sites for obtaining readings from the summit reflectors. Additional reflectors will be installed at the summit on the trip planned for February 2nd, in an attempt to maximize chances to hit the reflectors from multiple acquisition locations.

Aerial view of the new lava dome at the La Soufrière Volcano on 24th January 2021. (Rommel De Freitas)
Aerial view of the new lava dome at the La Soufrière Volcano on 24th January 2021. (Rommel De Freitas)

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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