La Soufrière Update #32: More Tests, Equipment & Plans Underway

Dr. Thomas Christopher and Monique Johnson Lynch at the summit of La Soufriere preparing to undertake sampling. (UWI SRC, February 1st, 2021)

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 plans have been put in place to establish a new seismic station along the volcano trail and for the establishment of benchmarks for GPS measurements to be done at Table Rock and Jacob’s Well along the trail to the volcano.

Radio tests were made of communication links between Georgetown and the start of the volcano trail on the eastern (Windward) side of the volcano. The benchmarks were installed at Table Rock and Jacob’s Well and GPS measurements started at Jacob’s Well.

The new dome continues to grow towards the north-west and south-east with the most active gas emissions being the contact areas between the pre-existing 1979 dome and the 2020-21 domes, as well as the top of the new dome.

According to NEMO, a radar image acquired on the 10th February 2021 suggests that dome continues to grow. However, it was not possible to get a reliable footprint of the dome, due to image resolution and distortion. A drone flight was conducted at the La Soufriere Volcano on Friday 12th February, 2021.

NEMO staff will be conducting a drive through the Troumaca Community on Tuesday 16th February 2021. The purpose of this drive through is to update residents on the state of the La Soufrière Volcano and to provide information on evacuation procedures and individual preparedness.

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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