St. Vincent and the Grenadines
389.00 sq km
Eastern Caribbean (UTC-4)
101,145 (2021 est.)
Full Country Name
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
St. Vincent is located within the southern part of the Lesser Antilles island arc about 161 km west of Barbados, 109 km north of Grenada and 306 km north of Trinidad. It is the largest of the 32 islands and cays that make up the multi-island country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is roughly oval in shape and is approximately 29 km long and 17.5 km wide at its broadest point. A very prominent central mountain range from La Soufrière (1,178 m), in the north, to Mount St. Andrew (736 m) in the south runs the length of the island. This range of volcanic mountains divides the island almost equally between a gently sloping eastern or windward side and a deeply dissected and rugged western or leeward side. The island enjoys a tropical climate with the hottest and most humid months between June and September when daytime temperatures reach an average high of 30°C.
Approximately 101,145 people live on the islands with St. Vincent having the largest population.Referred to as Vincentian or Vincy (colloquially). English is the official language. Currency used: Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD).
In the event of an earthquake, volcanic eruption or tsunami the National Emergency Management Organisation is the official authority in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
National Emergency Management Organisation
Ministry of National Security
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
St. Vincent lies in an area of the Caribbean which has a relatively low seismic hazard. Volcanic earthquakes have been associated with most of the explosive eruptions of La Soufrière in the historic past. Earthquake activity prior to a violent eruption in St. Vincent has varied from a few days to months and even years (Anderson and Flett, 1903, Shepherd, et. al., 1979). However, there have been numerous occasions in which earthquakes have occurred with no ensuing eruptions so the earthquakes may not necessarily be a consistent indicator of impending volcanic activity.
St. Vincent is made up of a series of volcanoes that form a central range of mountains from La Soufrière volcano in the north to Mount St. Andrew in the South. This central backbone consists of several old volcanoes which are no longer active, e.g. Grand Bonhomme, Richmond Peak & Mount Brisbane.
In the past, volcanic activity in St. Vincent has alternated between violently explosive eruptions and quiet emissions of lava. This activity has produced mountains made up of several layers of lava and rock fragments called stratovolcanoes. Later activity has formed prominent peaks or lava domes in the interior of the island.
La Soufrière Volcano
Rising 1,178m (3,864ft) above sea level and occupying the northern third of the island, La Soufrière volcano is the only ‘live’ or potentially active volcano in St. Vincent. Several eruptions in the past have caused considerable damage and numerous casualties. Three major eruptions occurred in 1812, 1902 and 1979.
Date Type of Eruption
1780 Dome building
1812 Explosive; >56 fatalities
1880 Dome building
1902-03 Explosive; >1,565 fatalities
1971-72 Dome building
1979 Explosive, no fatalities; >14,000 evacuated
2020-2021 Explosive, no fatalities; ~18,000 evacuated (Explore our 2020/2021 Eruption page)
In the future, activity at La Soufrière is expected to be quite similar to that experienced in the past century. It is possible that explosive eruptions of similar or larger size than the 1979 eruption will occur. The UWI-SRC scientists provide advice as well as produce maps and other public information material so as to enable the public and authorities to better prepare for volcanic eruptions. Know where you live in relation to La Soufrière and know what to do if an eruption occurs.