Scientists responsible for the monitoring of the La Soufrière Volcano on St. Vincent in the Caribbean have changed the status / alert level there back down to “Green” after a period of quiet from a busy eruption cycle that occured in 2021. According to the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI SRC), seismic activity at La Soufrière, St Vincent has continued to decrease reaching the minimum activity since the tremor associated with the explosion and ash venting on April 22, 2021.
An explosive eruption has occurred at the La Soufriere Volcano on St. Vincent in the Caribbean, according to the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), Ministry of National Security, for St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the West Indies. Yesterday, with signs of an explosive eruption imminent, Vincentian Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves issued an evacuation order and raised the alert level to “RED” there. The National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) has now been fully activated on the island to deal with this impending disaster. The explosive eruption began at 8:41 am local time and continues at this moment.
The 2020-2021 event was the 6th explosive event to be recorded in history, with the others happening in 1718, 1812, 1814, 1902/1903, and 1949. Several effusive eruptions have also occurred at La Soufriere. In 1979, an effusive phase followed the initial explosive phase of the eruption. In 1971/1972, an effusive eruption created a lava dome that existed until the 1979 eruption.
La Soufriere’s most devastating eruption occurred in 1902; that explosive eruption claimed approximately 1,600 lives. During the last eruption in 1979, the local population was successfully evacuated and no one died.
Roughly 16,000 people that live around the volcano were displaced by the recent eruption. The overall population of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is around 100,000. With the status back to Green, some normalcy can return to those peoples lives.
The volcano has ejected a cloud of volcanic ash to the north and east of the island. Forecast models used by the
The eastern Caribbean is no stranger to volcanic activity. 17 of the region’s 19 active volcanoes are located on 11 islands, with another 2 currently under water near the island of Grenada. The eastern Caribbean’s most active volcano prior to today’s explosive eruption was Soufriere Hills in Montserrat. Soufriere Hills destroyed the capital of Plymouth and killed 19 people when it erupted in 1997. That volcano has been continuously erupting since 1995.