The Piparo Mud Volcano (2019)

On the night of September 21st, 2019, activity begun at the Piparo Mud Volcano’s site, causing damage to a nearby home and roadway. Activity continues to date, with an eruption imminent on the scale of the February 22nd, 1997 Eruption. Follow along for live updates.


Thursday 24th October 2019

Drone Photo of the Piparo Mud Volcano as of October 6th, 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG
Drone Timelapse of the Piparo Mud Volcano between September and October, 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG

Senior geoscientist at Touchstone Exploration, Xavier Moonan assessment of the Piparo Mud Volcano, following drone orthometric and topography map:

The drone mapping confirms field observations, that the area around the central vent, especially on the western and southern side has gone down a few centimeters again compared to 7 days ago. Fractures running through the central vent and some of the fractures to the west are still widening. The rain earlier in the week has increased the error margin a bit but there is still good evidence of continued subsidence.

Gas continues to actively escape, bubbling in the yard of a resident along Panchoo Trace.

Drone Topographic Map of the Piparo Mud Volcano as of October 23rd, 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG
Drone Topographic timelapse of the Piparo Mud Volcano between September and October 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG


Wednesday 23rd October 2019

Senior geoscientist at Touchstone Exploration, Xavier Moonan visited the Piparo Mud Volcano and had the following assessment.

“The volcano was still fairly active, regular bubbling and occasional louder blasts. The water in the cracks has had a chance to settle with the drier weather lately, allowing us to see the small gas vents. The cracks are littered with them.”

Photos courtesy Xavier Moonan



11:30 PM Monday 21st October 2019

There were reports of loud noises originating from the Piparo Mud Volcano for since 10:30 PM. It was heard by several nearby residents.



4:15 PM Monday 21st October 2019

Update from the AAPG Young Professionals Trinidad & Tobago Chapter

The central vent is a bit quieter today than a few days ago. There appears to be less gas venting at the moment. Gas is still observed bubbling in and along most fractures radiating from the central vent.

The main NNW-SSE fracture cutting through the central vent has continued to slip, moving downwards by another 8cm since last Wednesday. Subsidence continues with the western area immediately at the vent, leaning and tilting downward into the vent. As such, the central vent is collapsing in on itself as anticipated.

We investigated gas bubbling at a residence along Panchoo Trace. This road runs west to east immediately north of the Piparo mud volcano. The bubbling gas appears to be flammable. The gas will be tested shortly and compared to the gas currently emitted from the central vent.

Further fractures were observed in and immediately north of the cemetery. These fractures, like the ones at the Solomon residence to the west, all have dextral motion suggesting similar fault family.

Residents have been asked to remain vigilant in observing their surroundings and to report any observation of fractures, tilting, bubbling or any ground deformation out of the norm.

Other Updates:

  • Still no definite timeframe on a potential eruption.
  • Activity on the increase, with fractures, widening and the overall area subsiding.
  • Increased rainfall increases the risk of eruption.
  • Residents continue to hear loud noises from the volcano and more cracks are appearing, this time on other person’s property.
  • Residents are keeping watch of the volcano and request lights to see potential activity during the night.

You can read more at the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.



12:45 AM Thursday 17th October 2019

Update from the AAPG Young Professionals Trinidad & Tobago Chapter

Over the past 10 days, subsidence has continued in the areas south of the current main vent. The rate of subsidence in this area has decreased overall with a maximum of 15 cm of vertical drop observed over this time period.

The areas north of the central vent, however, have been uplifted subtly by up to 20 cm max in places.

Note that a fair amount of rainfall occurred over the last 10 days which can hamper the accuracy of the measurements.

Drone Topographic Map of the Piparo Mud Volcano as of October 6th, 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG
Drone Topographic Map of the Piparo Mud Volcano as of October 6th, 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG
Drone Topographic Map of the Piparo Mud Volcano as of October 16th, 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG

Bubbles are still observed in fractures and pools in the northern area as well as fractures in the southwestern area. The very small vent which occurs 30ft south of the central vent still bubbles continuously.

The activity at the central vent appears to have noticeably increased over the past week with constant bubbling and occasional loud blasts shooting mud upward about a foot into the air.

Members of the public are advised to stay away from the mud volcano due to its current heightened activity.

Drone Photo of the Piparo Mud Volcano as of October 6th, 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG
Drone Photo of the Piparo Mud Volcano as of October 6th, 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG
Drone Photo of the Piparo Mud Volcano as of October 16th, 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG
Drone Photo of the Piparo Mud Volcano as of October 16th, 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG

Other Updates:

  • Frac­tures around the Pi­paro vol­cano are con­tin­u­ing to widen while in­creased gaseous emis­sions are be­ing record­ed.
  • All State agen­cies met for a plan­ning ses­sion at the Pi­paro Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­tre on Thurs­day.
  • Nearly 4 weeks after the volcano first began showing signs of activity, the development of a total evacuation plan is now underway.
  • Geoscientists are working on getting the proper equipment to monitor the volcano.

You can read more at the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.



11:45 AM Monday 7th October 2019

A very small vent has appeared approximately 30ft south of the main vent and bubbles constantly.

Other updates:

  • Two “Volcanic Fumes” signs placed at the entrances of the Volcano
  • Solomon’s home continues to crack with his family scattered and no HDC house on the horizon, which was promised.
  • Gas con­tin­ues to rise from the main vent with a con­stant hiss­ing sound.
  • There are small bub­bling pools on the north­ern and the gas is still es­cap­ing along the frac­tures head­ing west­ward and south­ward.
  • A very small vent has ap­peared ap­prox­i­mate­ly 30ft south of the main vent and bub­bles con­stant­ly.
  • CERT Training has been ongoing in Piparo.
  • An Emer­gency Evac­u­a­tion map has been shared out to res­i­dents.

Read more at the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.



6:00 PM Sunday 6th October 2019

Update from the AAPG Young Professionals Trinidad & Tobago Chapter

Gas continues to be expelled at the main vent with a constant hissing sound. Small pools on the northern side continue to bubble occasionally. Gas escapes along fractures heading westward as well as southward. A very small vent has appeared approximately 30 ft south of the main vent and bubbles constantly.

 Drone Photo of the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 29th and October 6th 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG
Drone Photo of the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 29th and October 6th 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG

The main changes observed over the last week have been an increase in the number and width of the fractures on the southern side. The southern area has gone down by almost a foot overall.

The northern fractured area has also gone downward but by much less approximately 8-10 cm.

Overall the area is still experiencing subsidence, now a bit faster on the southern side than the northern.



6:00 PM Monday 30th September 2019

Update from the AAPG Young Professionals Trinidad & Tobago Chapter

The drone imagery on 29th September 2019 shows more fractures have formed near the vent. All fractures are widening. The area has now undergone subsidence in the order of 3.4ft since 22nd September.

Drone Photo of the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 30th, 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG
Drone Photo of the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 29th, 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG


Sunday 29th September 2019

Update from the AAPG Young Professionals Trinidad & Tobago Chapter

Staff and students of the UWI Petroleum Geoscience Unit at UWI St Augustine conducted a series of Seismic Tomography / Resistivity surveys today at Piparo Mud Volcano.

This dataset will be compared to similar surveys conducted earlier in 2019 and 2018 to observe subsurface changes which will help advise on the possible eruption.

Further hi-res drone surveys were conducted as well.

National Gas Company reps also conducted some tests on the gas currently being emitted.

The quiet­ness of the Pi­paro mud vol­cano could be the calm be­fore the storm as was ex­pe­ri­enced in 1997 when there was a three week lull be­fore the erup­tion.

Speak­ing at the site yes­ter­day, se­nior geo­sci­en­tist with Touch­stone Ex­plo­ration and UWI lec­tur­er, Xavier Moo­nan, asked vil­lagers to con­tin­ue to be vig­i­lant.

“These sort of ex­pres­sions are what ac­tu­al­ly ties every well to the erup­tion we had back in 1997. There was a lull pe­ri­od of about three weeks and so that’s why we are pay­ing at­ten­tion to this time pe­ri­od to see if this is con­tin­u­ing to match that. The most we can do with­out any fur­ther sci­en­tif­ic da­ta is just to see if it con­tin­ues to match that and then we will know whether we are ex­pect­ing a ma­jor erup­tion or if it is go­ing to go back to slum­ber again.”

You can read more at the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.



Piparo Mud Volcano Goes Silent

Friday 27th September 2019

More than a week af­ter it be­gan rum­bling, the Pi­paro mud vol­cano has gone silent.

How­ev­er, the dis­qui­et has not eased the fears of res­i­dents who re­main ready to evac­u­ate in the event of an erup­tion. The Emer­gency Evac­u­a­tion map has been shared out to res­i­dents and the plan re­mains that those who live to the west of the vol­cano will ex­it the dis­as­ter zone us­ing Pi­paro Road, to­wards Guaracara Junc­tion and then to the Rivers­dale Pres­by­ter­ian Pri­ma­ry School. Those to the east of the vol­cano will pro­ceed out of Pi­paro Road to Stone Road and then to Pi­paro Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­tre.

You can read more at the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.



Piparo not prepared for volcano eruption—Village Council

Saturday 28th September 2019

Pres­i­dent of the Pi­paro Vil­lage Coun­cil Ryan Ghan­ny is call­ing for an emer­gency re­sponse team, in­clu­sive of army/po­lice per­son­nel, to be set up in the com­mu­ni­ty in the like­ly event that the mud vol­cano erupts.

In a tele­phone in­ter­view on Sat­ur­day, Ghan­ny lament­ed that not enough was be­ing done to pre­pare the com­mu­ni­ty. “We have plen­ty is­sues, we not pre­pared,” said Ghan­ny. He com­plained that there are no clear guide­lines, no re­sources, in­clud­ing equip­ment, sup­plies, and in­fra­struc­ture, in place to en­sure a speedy and safe evac­u­a­tion and ef­fi­cient re­sponse by the rel­e­vant agen­cies.

You can read more at the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.


Piparo survivors tell residents: Pack and move

Friday 27th September 2019

They lived to tell the tale of the time when the Pi­paro mud vol­cano blew, spit­ting half a mil­lion bar­rels of warm, mud 200 feet in the air.

Now the sur­vivors of the 1997 erup­tion are beg­ging Pi­paro res­i­dents to pack up their be­long­ings and move be­cause his­to­ry seems to be about to re­peat it­self.

You can read more at the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.



Government To Decide On Piparo After Getting Scientific Infomation.

Friday 27th September 2019

Gov­ern­ment which has sought sci­en­tif­ic as­sess­ment on the Pi­paro mud volcano will say what “has to be said” on the suit­abil­i­ty of the area for residen­cy af­ter get­ting the sci­en­tif­ic in­for­ma­tion.

You can read more at the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.



Nearly One Week After Mud Volcano Becomes Active, Evacuation Plan Rolled Out

Friday 27th September 2019

This map presents evacuation procedures in the event of an eruption at the Piparo Mud Volcano. The map is provided for a general overview of the area as it outlines the possible routes available for emergencies in the area as of 30th September 2019.
This map presents evacuation procedures in the event of an eruption at the Piparo Mud Volcano. The map is provided for a general overview of the area as it outlines the possible routes available for emergencies in the area as of 30th September 2019.

As the cracks con­tin­ue to ap­pear, evac­u­a­tion plans have been pre­pared for Pi­paro res­i­dents should the mud vol­cano blow.

Five days af­ter the Pi­paro vol­cano rum­bled to life, the res­i­dents still have not been evac­u­at­ed.

How­ev­er, the au­thor­i­ties have de­vel­oped an emer­gency evac­u­a­tion route di­rect­ing res­i­dents which way to run if the vol­cano blows.

Dur­ing a mul­ti-min­is­te­r­i­al meet­ing with res­i­dents yes­ter­day, all res­i­dents liv­ing to the west of the vol­cano were ad­vised to pro­ceed along Pi­paro Road through Guaracara Junc­tion and gath­er at Rivers­dale Pres­by­ter­ian Pri­ma­ry School in the event of an erup­tion.

Those liv­ing to the east of the vol­cano were ad­vised to pro­ceed along Pi­paro Road to the Pi­paro Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­tre.

Maps were dis­trib­uted to res­i­dents mak­ing it easy for a quick ex­it.

One fam­i­ly liv­ing close to the vol­cano’s main vent who could go nei­ther east or west was ad­vised to go to an area through the woods to get on­to Pi­paro Road.

But res­i­dent Bal­dath Ram­nar­ine com­plained that the roads (Ho­sei­nee Trace, San­cho Road, Nivet Road and Stone Road) around the vol­cano were so de­plorable that get­ting in and out would be treach­er­ous.

Chair­man of Princes Town Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion Gowrie Roop­nar­ine said they were on tick­ing time bomb and they des­per­ate­ly need­ed 20 tonnes of hot mix as­phalt to fix Ho­sei­nee Trace and oth­er roads lead­ing to the dis­as­ter zone. A bridge had col­lapsed at Ho­sei­nee Trace mak­ing the area im­pass­able and the Cor­po­ra­tion is in the process of fix­ing it.

You can read more at the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.



Fear of Vandals

Wednesday 25th September 2019

Afraid that their homes will be van­dalised if they evac­u­at­ed, some Pi­paro res­i­dents have de­cid­ed to stay put de­spite warn­ings that the rum­bling vol­cano will soon erupt.

Even though bar­ri­cades have been set up near the site, res­i­dents said peo­ple are con­tin­u­ing to go to the mouth of the vol­cano to per­form poo­jas, prayers and to watch the bub­bles of gas shoot up from the vol­cano’s fis­sures.

Boyo and Par­batie Suratt who live on the pe­riph­ery of the vol­cano lounged un­con­cerned in ham­mocks un­der their home when Guardian Me­dia vis­it­ed on Wednes­day.

Par­batie said dur­ing the last erup­tion in Feb­ru­ary 22, 1997, her three broth­ers were among the 14 fam­i­lies who lost their homes.

When they evac­u­at­ed dur­ing the last erup­tion, Par­batie said thieves pil­fered every­thing.

“This time we not mov­ing. In these times where we go­ing to find mon­ey to buy back every­thing? And we not go­ing in any com­mu­ni­ty cen­tre. If we have to evac­u­ate, we want a prop­er place to stay, “ she said.

Stand­ing on the gallery of his home, Boyo said he could see the bub­bles of green­ish gas and mud be­ing belched out from the bow­els of the vol­cano.

“On Sat­ur­day I stand up and watch but since then it gets a bit qui­et. We can still hear the sounds like gun­shots but since the rains came it get qui­et. I don’t think it will erupt be­cause that is God’s work there. If this is the way we have to go, no­body but God could stop that,” he said.

Next door, Aneal Har­ri­lal said they too were un­will­ing to evac­u­ate.

Har­ri­lal said no prop­er arrange­ments were put in place.

“We are hear­ing that a meet­ing will be held to dis­cuss evac­u­a­tion but no­body has said any­thing and there is still many peo­ple com­ing to the vol­cano to see it. Peo­ple are push­ing down flags and poles and oth­er items in the mouth of the vol­cano, “Har­ri­lal added. He said cracks had de­vel­oped in his front yard and the rum­bling has con­tin­ued un­abat­ed.

At the Solomon’s res­i­dence, the cracks at the back por­tion of their home had widened by more than a foot.

The en­tire back wall had splin­tered to the roof and the fence was lop­sided.

A wa­ter line along the road be­came dis­lodged and a WASA crew was on-site to re­pair the leak.

Fi­del Solomon said they man­aged to re­move 90 percent of their be­long­ings and like their neigh­bours, they too were wor­ried about thieves.

“This is a dan­ger­ous site yet peo­ple are still com­ing here to sight­see. They are bring­ing their chil­dren on top of the vol­cano, “ he said.

He said even though their home was a haz­ard they too had not ful­ly evac­u­at­ed.

“We packed up every­thing and if the time comes we will move, “ he said.

An­oth­er res­i­dent Shamshadeen Ho­sein slammed the gov­ern­ment for not cor­don­ing off the area and plac­ing se­cu­ri­ty per­son­nel on site.

“What is the plan? Yes, we have been go­ing on the site be­cause we have to see what is go­ing on, “ he added.

You can read more at the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.



2:30 PM Tuesday 24th September 2019

Drone video taken of the Piparo Mud Volcano, showing widening fractures. Infrequent gas bubbles were observed as well as new parasitic vents were seen releasing small amounts of mud.



11:58 AM Tuesday 24th September 2019

The Ministry of National Security issued a release advising all citizens to avoid the area surrounding the Piparo Mud Volcano.

Despite warning against venturing near the Piparo mud volcano, many people were seen going beyond the caution tape to get up-close views of the volcano which has been showing signs of activity since Saturday.  Photo: Guardian Media/Kristian De Silva
Despite warning against venturing near the Piparo mud volcano, many people were seen going beyond the caution tape to get up-close views of the volcano which has been showing signs of activity since Saturday. Photo: Guardian Media/Kristian De Silva

Al­though a fam­i­ly liv­ing near the Pi­paro mud vol­cano was told to evac­u­ate be­cause of the im­mi­nent threat of an erup­tion, mem­bers of the pub­lic are ig­nor­ing warn­ings to stay away from the site.

Yes­ter­day a fam­i­ly, in­clud­ing chil­dren, were among sev­er­al peo­ple who by­passed cau­tion tape at two main ac­cess points and the perime­ter of the vol­cano to get a close-up view of the nat­ur­al phe­nom­e­non. Some of them even climbed the mound to get a bet­ter view.

Snr Su­per­in­ten­dent of the South­ern Di­vi­sion Wayne Mo­hammed was kept busy turn­ing peo­ple away from the site.

Is­su­ing an­oth­er warn­ing to the pub­lic, he said: “I am be­seech­ing the me­dia to as­sist the po­lice in ask­ing per­sons who are not liv­ing in and around the area of Pi­paro not to ven­ture to the mud vol­cano, that it is a dis­as­ter zone.”

You can read more in the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.



Disaster at the Solomon’s

While au­thor­i­ties have cor­doned off the Pi­paro Mud Vol­cano fol­low­ing an in­crease in ac­tiv­i­ty, one fam­i­ly may have to evac­u­ate as earth move­ment has start­ed to dam­age their home.

Damage to Fedell Solomon's home at Piparo following increased activity at the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 24th 2019. Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center
Damage to Fedell Solomon’s home at Piparo following increased activity at the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 24th 2019. Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center

Large fis­sures from the vol­cano con­tin­ued to widen from Sat­ur­day night in­to yes­ter­day, with fresh mounds of mud pil­ing up near the mouth.

As scores of cu­ri­ous vis­i­tors and res­i­dents gath­ered, the machi­nat­ed sound could be heard and gas was re­leased every few min­utes.

Po­lice of­fi­cers were do­ing pa­trols, in case there was a need to ini­ti­ate an emer­gency ex­er­cise.

Damage to Fedell Solomon's home at Piparo following increased activity at the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 24th 2019. Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center
Damage to Fedell Solomon’s home at Piparo following increased activity at the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 24th 2019. Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center

For Fedell Solomon, whose home is sit­u­at­ed close to the vol­cano, the mem­o­ries of the 1997 erup­tion that al­most flat­tened their com­mu­ni­ty rushed to mind.

Solomon was on­ly nine years old back then, but when the equip­ment room be­gan sep­a­rat­ing from the rest of his fam­i­ly home, they im­me­di­ate­ly be­gan pack­ing up im­por­tant doc­u­ments and clothes and putting it in their ve­hi­cle in case they need­ed to evac­u­ate.

“We were get­ting ready for bed and just heard some­thing like a hard gun­shot. We thought it was some­one try­ing to come in­to the prop­er­ty. We tried to fig­ure out what it was. We didn’t see any move­ments un­til the sec­ond sim­i­lar noise and then a piece of con­crete lift­ed off.

Damage to Fedell Solomon's home at Piparo following increased activity at the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 24th 2019. Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center
Damage to Fedell Solomon’s home at Piparo following increased activity at the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 24th 2019. Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center

It was then the house start­ed mov­ing. All we could have done was to ob­serve it mov­ing. We tried to move what­ev­er we could safe­ly,” Solomon said.

In 1997 erup­tion, the house which has been there for the past 30 years, al­so sus­tained dam­age. He said it is fright­en­ing liv­ing close to the vol­cano and his fam­i­ly is hop­ing for the best. He said they are con­tem­plat­ing to evac­u­ate their home if the sit­u­a­tion wors­ens.

Damage to Fedell Solomon's home at Piparo following increased activity at the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 24th 2019. Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center
Damage to Fedell Solomon’s home at Piparo following increased activity at the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 24th 2019. Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center

Geo-sci­en­tists say more sub-sur­face ac­tiv­i­ty is tak­ing place, yet the Solomon fam­i­ly who lives clos­est to the vol­cano still has not re­lo­cat­ed.

In an in­ter­view with Guardian Me­dia, res­i­dent An­nal­isa Solomon said they spent the night at home be­cause con­di­tions were not favorable at the com­mu­ni­ty cen­tre.

The fa­cil­i­ty has no bath­room and even­tu­al­ly af­ter vis­it­ing the cen­tre, the en­tire fam­i­ly moved back in­to their cracked house.

Damage to Fedell Solomon's home at Piparo following increased activity at the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 24th 2019. Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center
Damage to Fedell Solomon’s home at Piparo following increased activity at the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 24th 2019. Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center

“We stayed awake all night on Sun­day. There is still some move­ment to the build­ing. Cracks are widen­ing,” she said with wor­ry.

How­ev­er, she said they were now con­tem­plat­ing split­ting up and stay­ing by sev­er­al fam­i­ly and friends.

“My par­ents will go some­where, my broth­er and his wife will go by their in-laws and I will have to go some­where else. It is re­al­ly dis­tress­ing split­ting up but we know we have to move,” she said.

Damage to Fedell Solomon's home at Piparo following increased activity at the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 24th 2019. Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center
Damage to Fedell Solomon’s home at Piparo following increased activity at the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 24th 2019. Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center

Solomon begged the gov­ern­ment to pro­vide a tem­po­rary HDC home for them so they will not have to split up while they wait for the erup­tion.

Dur­ing the last erup­tion on Feb­ru­ary 22, 1997, the cracks and rum­bles oc­curred for more than a week be­fore the ac­tu­al erup­tion.

Solomon said since Sat­ur­day they have been pray­ing that their prop­er­ty will be saved. Their house has al­ready suf­fer­ing gap­ing cracks.

Damage to Fedell Solomon's home at Piparo following increased activity at the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 24th 2019. Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center
Damage to Fedell Solomon’s home at Piparo following increased activity at the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 24th 2019. Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center


2:41 PM Monday 23rd September 2019

An update from the AAPG Young Professionals Trinidad & Tobago Chapter:

Heavily fractured area 40ft north of the current active vent has had a net uplift of 1.2ft when compared to previous drone topography survey conducted in August 2019.

Drone Topographic Map of the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 22nd, 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG
Drone Topographic Map of the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 22nd, 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG

The dextral motion (to the right) along with the fractures and deeper faults are resulting in localized uplift and release of trapped highly pressured gases and fluids (mud) in the subsurface.

If there is further motion along the faults, coupled with the area becoming more saturated with rainfall, the subsurface pressures will increase and may breach leading to a possible eruption.

Drone Photo of the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 22nd, 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG
Drone Photo of the Piparo Mud Volcano as of September 22nd, 2019. Credit: Xavier Moonan/AAPG

Be vigilant and do not venture onto the Piparo mud volcano until authorities deem it safe enough to do so.

Al­though the Pi­paro mud vol­cano seems ready to blow, most res­i­dents have re­fused to evac­u­ate. Torn be­tween the threat of the im­pend­ing erup­tion and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of floods as­so­ci­at­ed with Trop­i­cal Storm Karen, res­i­dents opt­ed to stay in their homes.

The Pi­paro Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­tre was iden­ti­fied as an emer­gency shel­ter and de­spite tor­ren­tial rains, mem­bers of the Cou­va/ Tabaquite/ Tal­paro Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion (CT­TRC) were out ad­vis­ing res­i­dents to evac­u­ate. How­ev­er, most res­i­dents ig­nored the warn­ing and in­stead packed their cars with emer­gency food sup­plies, cloth­ing, med­i­cine and im­por­tant doc­u­ments in case they had to make a hasty re­treat.

One res­i­dent, Han­ifha Karim, who lives about half a mile from the vol­cano, said her fam­i­ly was on stand­by and ready to move if nec­es­sary. She said she was ter­ri­fied that the vol­cano will erupt and cov­er part of the vil­lage as it did on Feb­ru­ary 22, 1997, but is al­so con­cerned about the storm and whether leav­ing home will bring greater prob­lems.

“We just wait­ing to see what is hap­pen­ing. We re­al­ly scared now, ” she said.

An­oth­er res­i­dent, An­nal­isa Solomon, said her fam­i­ly will seek refuge at the com­mu­ni­ty cen­tre.

“We have been speak­ing to the coun­cil­lor and we have al­ready packed up our stuff to go to the shel­ter,” she said.

Read more in the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian report.



11:45 AM Sunday 22nd September 2019

Activity continues at the main vent of the Piparo Mud Volcano.



11:15 AM Sunday 22nd September 2019

The AAPG Young Professionals Trinidad & Tobago Chapter issued its first update on the Piparo Mud Volcano.

“The public is advised to not venture onto the mudflow due to this heightened activity and the very high chance of a disastrous eruption.”

According to a Trinidad and Tobago Guardian report, Se­nior geo­sci­en­tist Xavier Moo­nan Moo­nan and his team toured the vol­cano on Sun­day morning, hours af­ter res­i­dents re­port­ed see­ing fis­sures and cracks around the area. Sev­er­al homes suf­fered ex­ten­sive dam­age.

“We just drone sur­veyed the mud vol­cano. We should ad­vise peo­ple to not ven­ture on­to it at least. It looks like it may blow very soon. We are see­ing up to two feet of mo­tion on some frac­tures,” he said.



8:45 AM Sunday 22nd September 2019

Small explosions of mud and gas continue from Piparo’s main vent. Photos were taken by Kadina K. Baksh, via Piparo Village Council 2018.



7:45 AM Sunday 22nd September 2019

Daybreak allowed for further inspection of the Piparo Mud Volcano, showing major cracks near the main vent of the volcano. Cracks were as deep as three feet with small expulsions of mud and gas.



11:30 PM Sunday 21st September 2019

Though there has been no confirmed eruption at the Piparo Mud Volcano, there are cracks on the roadway, one home has been damaged due to property cracks, a landslip, and a high sulfur smell according to MP Barry Padarath. He also added, there are no ongoing evacuations but residents are on standby.



11:00 PM Saturday 21st September 2019

A loud explosion was heard by residents at 10:08 PM, with cracks appearing across roads, & homes at 10:20 PM across Pancho Trace.



The First Warning – May 6th 2019

The first 3D seismic tomography model of the Piparo Mud Volcano.  This 3D model allowed the researchers to understand the intricacies of the ground beneath the Piparo area, to see the size and shape of the mud chamber and to understand what are the key controlling factors for the mud volcano's location and future eruption.
The first 3D seismic tomography model of the Piparo Mud Volcano.  This 3D model allowed the researchers to understand the intricacies of the ground beneath the Piparo area, to see the size and shape of the mud chamber and to understand what are the key controlling factors for the mud volcano’s location and future eruption.

Ge­ol­o­gists say pres­sure is build­ing up be­neath the sur­face of the Pi­paro mud vol­cano giv­ing cre­dence to the pos­si­bil­i­ty that there could be an erup­tion some­time in the fu­ture. Ac­tive changes have al­so been seen on the sur­face and sub­sur­face of the vol­canic vents.

Se­nior geo­sci­en­tist at Touch­stone Ex­plo­ration Xavier Moo­nan said re­cent stud­ies done over the past year at the Pi­paro vol­cano con­firm that the vol­cano was show­ing ac­tive changes. He said un­sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly, the vol­cano has a cyclic­i­ty of large erup­tions every 25 to 30 years.

Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, May 6th 2019.

Read the full story at the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.


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