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Report on Soufriere St. Vincent (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) — September 1979

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 4, no. 9 (September 1979)
Managing Editor: David Squires.

Soufriere St. Vincent (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) Lava extrusion continues

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1979. Report on Soufriere St. Vincent (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines). In: Squires, D (ed.), Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 4:9. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN197909-360150.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


Soufriere St. Vincent

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

13.33°N, 61.18°W; summit elev. 1220 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Extrusion of lava into Soufrière's summit crater continued through September. However, the rate of extrusion continued to decrease; the late August-late September rate was an order of magnitude less than peak values observed in mid-May.

Between 21 August and 23 September, the mean diameter of the lava body grew from 832 m to 840 m, covering about 60% of the crater floor, and its maximum height increased 1 m to 131 m. Its volume was calculated at 37.6 x 106 m3.

Small seismic events continued to be recorded by the summit seismograph. There has been no significant change in seismicity since a several-day increase in the number of events in late June and early July.

Geologic Background. Soufrière St. Vincent is the northernmost and youngest volcano on St. Vincent Island. The NE rim of the 1.6-km wide summit crater is cut by a crater formed in 1812. The crater itself lies on the SW margin of a larger 2.2-km-wide Somma crater, which is breached widely to the SW as a result of slope failure. Frequent explosive eruptions since about 4300 years ago produced pyroclastic deposits of the Yellow Tephra Formation, which blanket much of the island. The first historical eruption took place in 1718; it and the 1812 eruption produced major explosions. Much of the northern end of the island was devastated by a major eruption in 1902 that coincided with the catastrophic Mont Pelée eruption on Martinique. A lava dome was emplaced in the summit crater in 1971 during a strictly effusive eruption, forming an island in a lake that filled the crater prior to an eruption in 1979. The lake was then largely ejected during a series of explosive eruptions, and the dome was replaced with another.

Information Contacts: J. Tomblin, UWI.