Report on Soufriere Guadeloupe (France) — January 1977

Natural Science Event Bulletin, vol. 2, no. 1 (January 1977)
Managing Editor: David Squires.

Soufriere Guadeloupe (France) Summary of steam-and-ash explosions during October 1976-January 1977

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1977. Report on Soufriere Guadeloupe (France). In: Squires, D (ed.), Natural Science Event Bulletin, 2:1. Smithsonian Institution. http://dx.doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.NSEB197701-360060.

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Soufriere Guadeloupe

France

16.044°N, 61.664°W; summit elev. 1467 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Significant steam and ash explosions after 11 October occurred 30 October, 1, 6, and 7 November, and 5, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, and 30 January [but see 2:2]. Two harmonic tremor events were recorded on 1 November and one on 6 November. No information on harmonic tremor is available after 7 November. [Both the number of earthquakes and seismic energy release declined after mid-November (table 5).]

Table 5. Number of earthquakes and total seismic energy release at Soufrière Guadeloupe, October 1976-May 1977. Courtesy of M. Feuillard.

[Skip text table]
                 Number of    Total Seismic Energy
       1976     Earthquakes      (x 10E13 ergs)

    01-10 Oct       412              446
    11-20 Oct       895              532
    21-31 Oct      1008              929
    01-10 Nov       489              523
    11-20 Nov       235              402
    21-30 Nov       316              168
    01-10 Dec       204              225
    11-20 Dec       102              165
    21-31 Dec        93               41
    01-10 Jan        69               76
    11-20 Jan       126               71
    21-31 Jan       116              154
    01-10 Feb        76              152
    11-20 Feb        86               38
    21-28 Feb        17               32
    01-10 Mar        23                4
    11-20 Mar        65               54
    21-31 Mar        66               52
    01-10 Apr        12                2
    11-20 Apr        28                6.9
    21-30 Apr         6                1.1
    01-10 May         5                0.9
    11-20 May         9                1.7

Geologic Background. La Soufrière de la Guadeloupe volcano occupies the southern end of Basse-Terre, the western half of the butterfly-shaped island of Guadeloupe. Construction of the Grand Découverte volcano about 0.2 million years ago (Ma) was followed by caldera formation after a plinian eruption about 0.1 Ma, and then by construction of the Carmichaël volcano within the caldera. Two episodes of edifice collapse and associated large debris avalanches formed the Carmichaël and Amic craters about 11,500 and 3100 years ago, respectively. The presently active La Soufrière volcano subsequently grew within the Amic crater. The summit consists of a flat-topped lava dome, and several other domes occur on the southern flanks. Most historical eruptions have originated from NW-SE-trending fissure systems that cut across the summit and upper flanks. A relatively minor phreatic eruption in 1976-77 caused severe economic disruption when Basse-Terre, the island's capital city, which lies immediately below the volcano, was evacuated.

Information Contacts: M. Feuillard, Lab. de Physique du Globe.