La Soufriѐre Eruption 2020/2021 Media Fact Sheet

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

Situation Management

The Volcanic Alert Level is currently at YELLOW.

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.

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 Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Website (www.uwiseismic.com).

Contact Us

Media interviews with UWI-SRC staff are facilitated upon request:
  • Email – src@sta.uwi.edu
  • Phone/WhatsApp – +1-868-774-8858

Contact NEMO

  • Email – nemosvg@gov.vc or nemosvg@gmail.com
  • 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