BRADES, Montserrat, CMC:
Scientists monitoring the Soufriere Hills volcano here say it remains “capable of renewed activity” even though there are no immediate precursory signs of this despite two brief episodes of ash venting and gas release this year.
The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) met for its annual assessment of the volcano that roared to life in 1995 and according to the Outreach Officer for the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), Sonja Melander, “a hazard assessment was conducted to determine the probability of volcanic hazards affecting areas around the Soufriere Hills volcano”.
A statement issued following the meeting this week, noted that during the past year there have been two “very brief episodes of ash venting and increased gas release” in March and August and that the seismic events in March “included some of the largest earthquakes caused by the volcano since the eruption began”.
But the MVO said that the two episodes did not lead to renewed lava production and it is now 32 months since the last extrusive phase, easily the longest such pause in the eruption.
“A few small pyroclastic flows, caused by minor collapses of the dome towards Tar River and Gages Valley, have occurred and hot gases have continued to escape through the dome, which remains a large hot mass liable to collapse.”
The MVO said that its monitoring of ground motion, gas emission and seismicity is consistent with continuing activity of the volcanic system at depth.