La Soufrière Update #27: New Equipment Installed, Gas Measurements Taken

Team members in the foreground (Garth Mannette – Electronics and Dr. Michal Camejo-Harry – Volcanologist) at the summit installing EDM equipment that measures deformation aka ‘swelling’ of the La Soufrière Volcano on 1st February 2021 (UWI SRC)

Present La Soufrière Alert Level:YELLOWThe La Soufrière Volcano is restless. Seismicity and/or fumarolic activity are above the historical level at the volcano, or other unusual activity has been observed. This unusual activity will be specified at the time that the alert level is raised. This is level two of four.

The National Emergency Management Organization, in their latest bulletin, advised that additional reflectors for the Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) target were installed today, bringing the total number of reflectors installed to nine (9). These reflectors will be used to assist with measurements of deformation associated with the flanks of the volcano.

Some gas measurements were done today using a Multi-Gas Instrument and a filter pack. The Multi-Gas measurements were successful. These gas measurements will be used to understand what is happening deep within the volcano as gases are coming to the surface faster than magma.  This can be used as an early warning system. The Team also spent some time trying to focus the camera installed at La Soufriere Volcano.

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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