Sleeping volcanoes rumble to living in Volcanic activity in St Vincent

Volcanoes that have been quiet for decades are rumbling to life in the eastern Caribbean, prompting officials to issue alerts in Martinique and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as scientists rush in to study activity they say has not been observed in years.

Volcanoes that have been quiet for decades are rumbling to life in the eastern Caribbean, prompting officials to issue alerts in Martinique and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as scientists rush in to study activity they say has not been observed in years.

The newest warning was issued late Tuesday for La Soufriere volcano in St Vincent and the Grenadines, a chain of islands home to more than 100,000 people. Officials reported tremors, strong gas emissions, the formation of a new volcanic dome and changes to its crater lake.

The Caribbean Disaster, Emergency Management Agency, said that scientists observed an “effusive eruption within the crater, with visible gas and steam”.

The government warned those living near the volcano to prepare to evacuate if needed, declaring an orange alert, which means eruptions could occur with less than 24 hours’ notice.

La Soufriere, located near the northern tip of the main island of St Vincent, last erupted in 1979, and a previous eruption in 1902 killed some 1,600 people.

That occurred shortly before Martinique’s Mount Pelee erupted and destroyed the town of Saint-Pierre, killing more than 30,000 people.
Mount Pelee is also active once again.

In early December, officials in the French Caribbean territory issued a yellow alert due to seismic activity under the mountain. It was the first alert of its kind issued since the volcano last erupted in 1932, Fabrice Fontaine, with Martinique’s Volcanological and Seismological Observatory, told The Associated Press.

While the eastern Caribbean is one long chain of active and extinct volcanoes, volcanologist Erik Klemetti, at Denison University in Ohio, said the activity at Mt Pelee and La Soufriere are not related.

The volcano’s alert level was raised to “orange”, as an increase of seismic activity at the volcano has been recorded since early November.

Volcanic Hazard Map contains 4 Hazard Zones (Red Zone-Very High, Orange Zone-High, Yellow Zone-Moderate, Green Zone-Low) as can be seen in the image.

The warning bulletin states that pyroclastic flows and lahars could affect a land area including offshore and the hazard zones must be envisaged as extending some distance offshore.

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