Soufrière Hills Volcano – Ten Years On

St. Augustine, Trinidad W.I.– March 23rd, 2005 – In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the eruption of the Soufrière Hills Volcano on Montserrat, the Seismic Research Unit of the University of the West Indies is spearheading a conference entitled ‘Soufrière Hills Volcano – Ten Years On’. Organised in collaboration with the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, the conference will attract scientists, emergency management personnel, health officials, and educators from across the globe.

The eruption on Montserrat has become a significant volcanic event both because it has attracted intensive scientific study and because of its long-lasting effects on a small island nation. It has so far produced over 0.5 km3 of andesite magma and has displayed a remarkable range of volcanic phenomena, including pyroclastic flows and tsunamis. It has also had a severe social impact, rendering two-thirds of the island uninhabitable and resulting in the emigration of more than half the island’s population.

With the installation of state-of-the-art monitoring equipment the eruption has been documented in unprecedented detail. As a consequence the volcano has become a natural laboratory for the science of volcanology and continues to stimulate a great deal of research in all spheres of volcanology and volcano seismology ranging from issues concerned with magma generation to the development of tools to improve the interface between science and society.

The Eastern Caribbean is a region of active volcanism that contains 19 ‘live’ (likely to erupt again) volcanoes and has experienced 33 historical eruptions (i.e. since the 1700s). Every island from Grenada to Saba is subject to the direct threat of volcanic eruptions. Non-volcanic islands such as Antigua, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago are close to volcanic islands and are, therefore, subject to volcanic hazards such as severe ash fall and volcanically-generated tsunamis.

The conference will be restricted to about 150 participants and will be held on the island from the 24th-30th July, 2005. Further details can be found at and at