La Soufrière Scientific Update: Volcano Emitting 722 Tons Of Sulphur Dioxide Per Day

View of the La Soufrière Volcano from St. Vincent’s Leeward (western) Coast. (Nadia Huggins, 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.

According to the latest scientific advisory from the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI SRC), measurements of the sulphur dioxide flux at La Soufrière were carried out by boat off the west coast yesterday (13th May) with the assistance of the coastguard. Several traverses were completed and yielded an average SO2 flux of 722 tons per day.

Seismic activity at La Soufrière, St Vincent has remained low since the tremor associated with the explosion and ash venting around noon on 22nd April. In the last 24 hours, only a few long-period earthquakes have been recorded.

Long-period volcanic earthquakes are caused by cracks resonating as magma and gases move toward the surface. They are often seen before volcanic eruptions. Their occurrence is also part of the normal background seismicity at some volcanoes, and their occurrence does not necessarily indicate that an eruption is imminent.

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)

The alert level is orange. The volcano continues to be in a state of unrest. Escalation in activity can still take place with little or no warning. Caution should be taken in crossing river valleys on the volcano due to the increased risk of lahars (mudflows) during periods of rainfall on the volcano.

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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