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Skip Navigation LinksHome : Island Profiles : Grenada : History
Grenada - Kick `em Jenny History

Eruptive History
Written histories of the West Indies do not mention the Kick 'em Jenny volcano before 1939, although there must certainly have been many eruptions before then. The name "Kick 'em Jenny" appears on many old maps where it usually refers either to the small island now more commonly called Diamond Rock (or Île Diamante) or to the whole passage between the Île de Ronde and Grenada.

23rd-24th July, 1939
The presence of the volcano was first revealed by an eruption which occurred on July 23rd-24th, 1939. It was witnessed by a large number of people in northern Grenada including a well-known Grenadian historian, Fr. R.P. Devas, who wrote a two-page typescript account of the eruption, a copy of which is at the Seismic Research Unit.

This eruption lasted for at least 24 hours and at its height it ejected an eruption column 300 metres (900 feet) above sea level. The eruption generated a series of sea waves which had amplitudes of about 2 meters in northern Grenada and the southern Grenadines.

Since 1939 there have been at least twelve more eruptions of Kick 'em Jenny. None of these have been as big as the 1939 eruption and most have been detectable only by seismographs. The most recent eruption of the volcano occurred in December 2001.

The 1939 eruption of Kick `Em Jenny probably looked similar to this eruption of the Kavachi Submarine Volcano in the Solomon Islands. (Photo by Pamela Brodi, 2000)

4th-6th December, 2001
The most recent period of elevated activity at Kick 'em Jenny occurred between December 4th and 6th, 2001. It was the first active episode to be preceded and accompanied by genuine volcanic earthquakes since seismograph networks were established in the Eastern Caribbean in 1952. The first signs of the underwater volcano's unrest were observed on September 24th, 2001 with a premonitory earthquake directly beneath the volcano. On December 4th, scientists at the Seismic Research Unit observed a burst of seismic activity beginning at 6:00AM (local time) and increasing to a peak at about 11:00AM. Following a short lull, activity again increased, and culminated in bursts of "T-phase*" between 7:18PM and 10:31PM. These bursts of T-phase were interpreted as explosions associated with a submarine eruption. After this burst of activity things quieted down, and earthquake activity returned to background levels.

The December 4th eruption appeared to have been completely submarine, with no observed or reported activity at the surface (although it did occur at night, so we cannot say for sure that there were no surface manifestations). Despite the lack of subaerial activity, the presence of T-phase confirmed that Kick 'em Jenny had erupted. The largest earthquakes associated with the eruption were felt in northern Grenada.

* T-phase, also known as "T-wave" is an acoustic wave from an earthquake or underwater explosion (e.g. submarine volcanic eruption). When an earthquake occurs in the earth's crust under the ocean or a submarine volcano erupts, in addition to the usual earthquake waves - i.e. "P" (primary) and "S" (secondary) waves - a third wave (T-wave) is generated by the acoustic energy in the ocean. The "T" stands for "tertiary", because these waves travel the slowest and so arrive after both the P and S waves at seismic stations.

Hourly (red bar chart) and cumulative (continuous line) numbers of volcanic earthquakes recorded at GRW from 6:30 AM, Dec. 4 to 6:30 AM, Dec. 6, 2001. Vertical arrows are T-phase episodes.

Historical Activity at Kick 'em Jenny 1939-Present

Date Description Evidence for eruption
24 July 1939 Eruption cloud up to 270m above sea level: local felt earthquakes; large sea waves generated (1m in open water); largest known historical eruption Witnessed
5 Oct. 1943 Submarine eruption; local felt earthquakes. T-phase recorded in Martinique.
30 Oct. 1953 Submarine eruption; earthquakes felt in north Grenada T-phase recorded throughout Eastern Caribbean.
24 Oct. 1965 Submarine eruption; earthquakes of intensity V felt on Isle de Ronde T-phase recorded throughout the Eastern Caribbean (and traced to KeJ)
5-7 May 1966 Submarine eruptions; earthquakes in north Grenada T-phase recorded throughout the Eastern Caribbean (and traced to KeJ)
3-6 Aug. 1966 Submarine eruption, 168 free T-phase recorded, shocks with intensities less than or equal to IV felt in Grenada T-phase
5 July 1972 Submarine eruption about 5 hours long T-phase recorded throughout the Eastern Caribbean
6 Sept. 1974 Material ejected into the air; sea above the volcano bubbling turbulently and spouting steam Witnessed; T-phase recorded throughout the Eastern Caribbean
14 Jan. 1977 Submarine eruption. T-phase recorded throughout the Eastern Caribbean
29-30 Dec. 1988 Submarine eruption; turbulent discoloured water; earthquakes felt in north Grenada T-phase
26 March to 5 April 1990 Earthquakes felt in north Grenada T-phase recorded throughout Eastern Caribbean
4 Dec. 2001 Submarine eruption, earthquakes felt in north Grenada T-phase recorded throughout Eastern Caribbean (and traced to KeJ). More than 600 volcanic earthquakes recorded on proximal stations.