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St. Vincent - Media


SEISMIC RESEARCH CENTRE

ST. AUGUSTINE, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, WEST INDIES

La Soufriѐre Eruption 2020/2021

Media Fact Sheet

Thursday  06th May, 2021

 Background

·       La Soufriѐre is the only ‘live’ (potentially active) volcano on the island of St. Vincent.

·       The Volcano stands 1,178m (3,864ft) above sea level.

·       There have been five (5) explosive eruptions at La Soufriѐre during the historical period: 1718, 1812, 1814, 1902/03 and 1979.

·       Several effusive eruptions have also occurred at the volcano. In 1979, an effusive phase followed the initial explosive phase of the eruption. In 1971/72 an effusive eruption created a lava dome that existed until the 1979 eruption.

 2020/2021 Eruption Timeline

·       Dome building (effusive) eruption began on December 27th, 2020.

·       Visual observations on December 29th, 2020 confirmed that high temperatures detected by satellites used to track fires were in fact caused by magma reaching the surface.

·       UWI-SRC team of scientists and technicians deployed on December 31st 2020

·       Prime Minister orders Evacuation of RED zone on April 8th 2021

·       On April 9th 2021 the La Soufriere volcano entered an explosive phase of eruption which has continued until present.

Situation Management

·       The Volcanic Alert Level is currently at ORANGE

·       The Volcanic Alert Level is set by the local authorities in St. Vincent & the Grenadines based on scientific advice from The UWI-SRC.

·       The public is advised to stay away from the volcano.

·       Communities in the Red Volcanic Hazard Zone in St. Vincent have been evacuated. Persons from the Orange Hazard Zone have been allowed to return to their homes.

·       The UWI-SRC's Education & Outreach section is providing communications and public relations support to the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO).

Lava Dome/Coulee Dimensions (estimated) as of March 19, 2021*

Height: 105m*

Length: 912m*

Width: 243m*

Total volume extruded: 13.13 million m3.

*Last values calculated prior to destruction at the onset of the explosive phase. 

Scientific Monitoring

·       A 3-person team comprising of senior scientists and technicians from The UWI-SRC and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) is currently on island. This team is based at the Belmont Observatory and is working closely with local authorities to monitor the volcano.

·       Scientists are using several techniques in their ongoing surveillance of the volcano. These techniques monitor volcanic earthquakes, gas emissions, and changes to the shape and size of the volcano.

·       Cameras have been installed at the Belmont Observatory and at the crater rim. This allows for continuous visual monitoring of the volcano. Before the explosive eruption in-person visual observations were made during routine visits to the summit.

·        Seismicity changed in the days leading up to the explosion with both volcano-tectonic (VT) and tremor type signals being observed. These indicated that the eruption had moved into a new phase. 

·       Volcanic gases including sulphur gases, halides and carbon dioxide continue to be emitted from the volcano. The smell of sulphur will be particularly evident downwind of the volcano. Carbon dioxide is colourless, odourless and can be deadly in high concentrations near the volcano.

Volcanic Alert Level – ORANGE

 

Communication

·       The UWI-SRC and the St. Vincent & the Grenadines National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) are the official sources of information on La Soufriѐre.  The public is advised to be wary of fake news from unofficial sources.

·       The UWI-SRC provides regular information on the La Soufriere eruption via

o   Facebook

o   Twitter

o   Instagram

o   YouTube

o   Website (www.uwiseismic.com)

·       NEMO Bulletins (print) are provided daily via The Agency for Public Information St. Vincent and the Grenadines Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/APISVG/

·       Scientific updates are posted to the UWI-SRC's social media platforms twice daily at 9am and 9pm daily.

·       The UWI-SRC provides at the start of the effusive eruption a weekly video update (“La Soufriѐre Today”) with a duty scientist via YouTube and Facebook.

·       At the start of the explosive phase of the eruption, an audio update done by the Director is shared to the UWI-SRC's social media platforms every evening. 

·       Media interviews with UWI-SRC staff are facilitated upon request:

o   Email - src@sta.uwi.edu

o   Phone/What’s App - +1-868-774-8858

·       Contact NEMO at:

o   Email - nemosvg@gov.vc or nemosvg@gmail.com

o   Phone - +1 784 456 2975

Visit The UWI-SRC YouTube channel (@uwiseismic) here for videos on volcanic hazards.

Watermarked photos of the eruption for use can be found here