Sat | May 15, 2021

Scientist: Volcano not gone back to sleep

Published:Tuesday | May 4, 2021 | 12:15 AM


One of the scientists monitoring the La Soufriere volcano said on Monday that while there has been little seismic activity at the volcano in recent days, “we are not ready to say that the volcano has gone back to sleep as yet”.

Speaking on the state-owned NBC Radio, Roderick Stewart said that there has been no sign of a reactivation or pressurisation at the volcano.

“So we think it is looking good,” he said, adding, “we will need to get a good look at the crater to work out what’s going on there exactly, and we are not ready to say that the volcano has gone back to sleep yet, but it is definitely in a quieter stage than it was during all the explosions.”

The volcano erupted explosively on April 9, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people, and according to the latest bulletin issued by the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) of the University of the West Indies, seismic activity at La Soufrière has remained low since the tremor associated with the explosion and ash venting on April 22.

It said that in the past 24 hours, only a few long-period, hybrid and volcano-tectonic earthquakes have been recorded, and there was no further seismic tremor.

“The volcano continues to be in a state of unrest. Explosions with accompanying ashfall of similar or larger magnitude to those that have already occurred in this eruption can take place with little or no warning.

“Caution should be taken in traversing river valleys on the volcano due to the increased risk of lahars (mudflows) during periods of rainfall on the volcano. The volcano is at alert level RED,” the SRC added.


Stewart, who appeared on the radio programme with Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, said “fingers crossed”, he is hoping that the volcano will remain quiet and “we would start getting back to normal”.

“There are no tremors. We are only getting the occasional small earthquakes,” he said, noting, however, that “one of the problems I have is that before the eruption, we had a station near the summit, and now we don’t have that. It has been destroyed.

“We can’t directly compare the activities. So one of our tasks as soon as it is safe to do so will be to put the station back on line or put a new one in so that we can make a much better comparison between the activities now and the activities before,” he said.