La Soufriѐre Eruption 2020-2021 Fact Sheet
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, 1902/03, 1979 and 2021.
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.
For more information on St Vincent and the Grenadines visit the island profile.
- The effusive eruption started December 2020 and continued for three months until the first explosive eruption was recorded on April 9th 2021.
- There were over 30 explosive eruptions with the last explosive eruption recorded on 22nd April, 2021.
- Approximately 22,000 people were displaced and 88 shelters activated.
- The most impacted community was Sandy Bay, located north-east of the island in the red zone.
- Heavy rainfall resulted in lahars (mudflows) in some communities.
- Clean up operations cost over EC$28 million dollars.
2020-2021 Eruption Timeline
The Volcanic Alert Level is currently at GREEN.
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 as the trail is still unstable.
Persons from the Red and 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
Total volume extruded
13.13 million m3
*Last values calculated prior to destruction at the onset of the explosive phase.
- A 3-person team comprising of senior scientists and technicians from The UWI-SRC and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) was on rotation on island from January 2021 to October 2021. This team was based at the Belmont Observatory and worked closely with local authorities to monitor the volcano.
- Scientists used several techniques in their surveillance of the volcano. These techniques monitored volcanic earthquakes, gas emissions, and changes to the shape and size of the volcano.
- Cameras were installed at the Belmont Observatory and at the crater rim (which was subsequently destroyed in the explosive eruption). This allowed 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 was evident downwind of the volcano. Carbon dioxide is colourless, odourless and can be deadly in high concentrations near the volcano.
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.
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