La Soufrière Volcano Still Poses Significant Threat, UWI Seismic Research Centre Experts Say

(CMC) – Experts at The UWI Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC) say the La Soufrière volcano in St Vincent and the Grenadines remains dangerous despite pauses in explosive activity.

During a virtual press conference hosted on Wednesday, April 21, Rod Stewart, volcano-seismologist from the UWI-SRC/Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) emphasized that, “although it is easy to identify the start of eruptions, conclusively saying when eruptions are over, often proves more difficult”.

The UWI-SRC and Vincentian authorities continue to monitor developments at the volcano, as they have been since the onset of heightened activity in December 2020, which entered an explosive phase on April 9, 2021.

Advice provided by the UWI–SRC enabled the successful evacuation of 13,000 residents from the designated ‘Red Zone’ 24 hours prior to the first explosion of the volcano.

The UWI-SRC said 32 discrete explosions have been observed since the onset of explosive activity. It noted that to date, there has been no loss of life but said ash from these explosions has been the primary hazard.

Buildings and infrastructure have suffered damage in St Vincent and nearby Barbados was also severely impacted for several days, the UWI-SRC said. It said explosive events have become less frequent over time, with the period between explosions increasing as the eruption progresses.

Professor Richard Robertson, UWI-SRC, scientific team lead estimates that the explosivity seen during this current eruption, is greater than in 1979, and more comparable to the 1902 eruption.

The UWI-SRC reaffirmed its commitment to St Vincent and the Grenadines, which will require substantial support to recover from this act of nature.