La Soufrière Scientific Update: “Volcano Is Still In Unrest”

Debris from lahars associated with the La Soufrière Volcano. Lahars are rapidly flowing dense mixture of rock debris, ash and water originating from a volcano. Also known as ‘mudflows’ or ‘debris flows’, lahars resemble the behavior of wet concrete as they flow. It can occur during and after eruptions, and also for several years after an eruption when volcanic deposits are remobilized during heavy rainfall events.(Ilias Papadopoulos,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), 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 small earthquakes have been recorded.

Several photos of the crater taken by pilots of the British Guard ship taken on June11th showed no lava dome present but several actively steaming hydrothermal areas.

Thermal anomalies continue to be detected. However, the UWI SRC has said these anomalies do not indicate an explosive event is imminent but that there is a source of heat, most likely from a small body of magma left over, close to the floor of the summit crater.

The UWI SRC is working to restore monitoring capacity lost during the explosive phase of the eruption. This will continue until the end of June.

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.

For more information on coping and handling volcanic ash, the UWI SRC is directing people to the International Volcanic Hazard Health Network for volcanic ash resources.

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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