La Soufrière Update #16: Dome Temperature of 590°C Recorded

Lava samples from the new dome in the crater at La Soufriere on Saturday 16th January 2021. Strict volcano safety protocols have been enacted to facilitate the scientific team’s expedition to the crater as changes in volcanic activity can occur at any time. (UWI SRC)

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.

In NEMO’s latest bulletin concerning the effusive eruption at the La Soufrière Volcano in St. Vincent, during the field sampling mission in the crater, photographs were also taken with a thermal camera by Dr. Adam Stinton recording temperatures of 590.8 °C on the actively growing front of the dome. The bulletin also noted that the interior of the dome might be at much higher temperatures.

More than meets the eye! Compare the regular and thermal images captured yesterday using an infrared camera. Photo credit: Dr. Adam Stinton #LaSoufrière #svg #uwiseismic #stilldangerous

Posted by UWI Seismic Research Centre on Sunday, January 17, 2021

On Saturday 16th January 2021, reasonably clear conditions in the summit area of the La Soufrière Volcano allowed for rock samples to be collected from the western part of the lava dome today.

Visual observations were completed in the afternoon, and Dr. Stinton conducted an aerial survey of the dome. The aerial survey will be used to create a detailed model of the dome, which will help map the lava dome’s growth and its volume in the future.

Visual observations indicate that the lava dome has continued to spread laterally and increase in height, with its summit being marked by a small circular depression, which is the focus of most gas emissions.

Measurement of gas compositions being emitted by the La Soufrière lava dome was also undertaken by Dr. Christopher.

Work continued installing a new seismic and continuous GPS monitoring station on the volcano’s upper southern flank by a team led by Instrumentation Engineer Lloyd Lynch. The installation is expected to be completed on Sunday 17th January 2021.

A braced monument for the placement of a continuous GPS antenna for measuring possible deformation associated with eruption of the volcano, was also completed today.

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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