Tens of thousands of people on high alert – Scientists study activity not seen in years
The most recent warning was issued 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, formation of a new volcanic dome and changes to its crater lake.
Historically, La Soufriere erupts at Grand Solar Minimums, says Diamond at Oppenheimer Ranch. It erupted at the Centennial Minimum, the Dalton Minimum and the Maunder Minimum.
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency said that scientists observed an “effusive eruption within the crater, with visible gas and steam” on Tuesday.
A new lava dome is seen.
The government warned those living near the volcano to prepare to evacuate if needed, declaring an orange alert that 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. Earlier, an eruption in 1902 killed some 1,600 people. Before that, La Soufriere’s last major eruption was in 1812.
The 1902 killer eruption occurred shortly before Martinique’s Mt Pelee erupted and destroyed the town of Saint-Pierre, killing more than 30,000 people.
Mt Pelee is also now 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, said Fabrice Fontaine, with Martinique’s Volcanological and Seismological Observatory.
The activity at Mt. Pelée and La Soufrière is not related., said volcanologist Erik Klemetti, at Denison University in Ohio.
“It’s not like one volcano starts erupting that others will,” said Klemetti. “It falls into the category of coincidence.”
Just a coincidence? I think not.
Especially since other ‘sleeping’ volcanoes are awakening in Indonesia, Sicily, Iceland and La Palma.
Thanks to Laurel and Paul Patterson for these links