Morne aux Diables

Photo of this volcano
  • Dominica
  • West Indies
  • Lava dome(s)
  • Unknown - Evidence Credible
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 15.612°N
  • 61.43°W

  • 861 m
    2824 ft

  • 360080
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

Most Recent Bulletin Report: March 2013 (BGVN 38:03) Citation IconCite this Report

Earthquake swarm began in mid-2009

Morne aux Diables is the northermost of the nine volcanic centers on the island of Dominica (Lindsay and others, 2005) (figure 1). The complex (figures 2 and 3) is comprised of five intact andesitic crystal rich lava domes that form a central depression. Within the depression, a 'Cold Soufrière' is evident with hydrothermally altered rocks and many small bubbling pools. No historical eruptions are known, although the volcano has a youthful appearance, and activity at flank domes likely continued into the late Pleistocene and Holocene (Lindsay and others, 2005). Robert Watts, at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre, reported that the volcano remains quiet, though with noteworthy seismicity in 2009 and 2010.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Geologic map of Dominica, West Indies, showing the Morne aux Diables complex at the N end of island. From N to S, generally, these nine centers are Morne aux Diables, Morne Diablotins, Morne Trois Pitons, Wotten Waven caldera, Valley of Desolation, Grande Soufrière Hills, Morne Watt, Morne Anglais, and Morne Plat Pays. Original map by Roobol and Smith (2004a) (see Roobol and Smith, 2004b); copied from Lindsey and others (2005).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Panoramic view from E. Cabrits dome looking E to the Morne aux Diables complex. Morne Aux Diables is on the left and Morne Destinee to the right. Courtesy of Richard Arculus and Robert Watts.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Photograph of the Morne aux Diables complex, taken from near Portsmith Town. The topographic high Morne Aux Diables is on the left; Morne Heritiers, center; and Morne Destinee, right. Courtesy of Robert Watts.

Watts, and Lindsay and others (2005), reported that in 2002 SeaBeam bathymetry highlighted a double peaked lava dome (known informally as Twin Peaks) on the sea floor a few kilometers off the northern coastline of Dominica. The summit of the higher dome (at 15.671?N, 61.476?W) was 153 m below sea level. This northern coastline terminating the N end of the Morne aux Diables complex forms a linear cliff that may represent a fault.

Seismic swarm during 2009-2010. The most common area of seismicity, as noted by Watts and others (2012a and 2012b), has been in the SE sector of Dominica. In the north there were spurts in activity in 1841, 1893, 2000, and a particularly intense week-long burst of more than 500 earthquakes in 2003. Following six years of low-level activity, a nearly continuous series of earthquakes was recorded beneath the central area of Morne aux Diables beginning in June 2009. The seismic swarm continued through at least 2010 with variations in activity that are consistent with volcano-tectonic (VT) activity.

The VT series reached a peak in December 2009, with many events felt by villagers on the flanks of the volcano, but earthquake activity afterwards gradually been diminishing. Beginning in December 2010, VT earthquakes exhibited a gradual shallowing with time (a few approaching 1 km depth), indicating that they are related to a vertical re adjustment of the stresses below the volcano, most likely caused by magma movement (Watts and others, 2012b).

References. Lindsay, J.M., Smith, A.L., Roobol, M.J., and Stasiuk, M.V., 2005, Dominica in Lindsay, J.M., Robertson, R.E.A., Shepherd, J.B. and Ali, S. (eds), Volcanic Hazard Atlas of the Lesser Antilles, Seismic Research Centre, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies, p. 1-48.

Roobol, M.J., and Smith, A.L., 2004a. Volcanology of Saba and St. Eustatius, northern Lesser Antilles, Amsterdam: Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Letters, 320 p.

Roobol, M.J., and Smith, A.L., 2004b, Geologic map of Dominica, West Indies (URL: http://www.caribbeanvolcanoes.com/dominica/content/dominicamap.pdf).

Watts, R.B., Robertson, R.E., Abraham, W., Cole, P., de Roche, T., Edwards, S., Higgins, M., Johnson, M., Joseph, E.P., Latchman, J., Lynch, L., Nisha, N., Ramsingh, C., and Stewart, R.C., 2012a , Elevated seismic activity beneath the slumbering Morne aux Diables volcano, Northern Dominica and the monitoring role of the Seismic Research Center, poster presentation at the 2012 American Geophyhsical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

Watts, R., Robertson, R., Abraham, W., Cole, P., Corriette, D., de Roche, T., Edwards, S., Higgins, M., Issacs, N., Johnson, M., Joseph, E., Latchman, J., Lynch, L., Nisha, N., Phillip, B., Ramsingh, C., and Stewart, R., 2012b, Elevated seismic activity beneath the slumbering Morne aux Diables volcano, northern Dominica, poster on UWISRC web (URL: http://www.uwiseismic.com/Downloads/Dominica_activity_Poster_Watts.pdf).

Information Contacts: Robert B. Watts, The University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies (URL: http://www.uwiseismic.com/).

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Morne aux Diables.

Bulletin Reports - Index

Reports are organized chronologically and indexed below by Month/Year (Publication Volume:Number), and include a one-line summary. Click on the index link or scroll down to read the reports.

03/2013 (BGVN 38:03) Earthquake swarm began in mid-2009




Information is preliminary and subject to change. All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


March 2013 (BGVN 38:03) Citation IconCite this Report

Earthquake swarm began in mid-2009

Morne aux Diables is the northermost of the nine volcanic centers on the island of Dominica (Lindsay and others, 2005) (figure 1). The complex (figures 2 and 3) is comprised of five intact andesitic crystal rich lava domes that form a central depression. Within the depression, a 'Cold Soufrière' is evident with hydrothermally altered rocks and many small bubbling pools. No historical eruptions are known, although the volcano has a youthful appearance, and activity at flank domes likely continued into the late Pleistocene and Holocene (Lindsay and others, 2005). Robert Watts, at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre, reported that the volcano remains quiet, though with noteworthy seismicity in 2009 and 2010.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Geologic map of Dominica, West Indies, showing the Morne aux Diables complex at the N end of island. From N to S, generally, these nine centers are Morne aux Diables, Morne Diablotins, Morne Trois Pitons, Wotten Waven caldera, Valley of Desolation, Grande Soufrière Hills, Morne Watt, Morne Anglais, and Morne Plat Pays. Original map by Roobol and Smith (2004a) (see Roobol and Smith, 2004b); copied from Lindsey and others (2005).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. Panoramic view from E. Cabrits dome looking E to the Morne aux Diables complex. Morne Aux Diables is on the left and Morne Destinee to the right. Courtesy of Richard Arculus and Robert Watts.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Photograph of the Morne aux Diables complex, taken from near Portsmith Town. The topographic high Morne Aux Diables is on the left; Morne Heritiers, center; and Morne Destinee, right. Courtesy of Robert Watts.

Watts, and Lindsay and others (2005), reported that in 2002 SeaBeam bathymetry highlighted a double peaked lava dome (known informally as Twin Peaks) on the sea floor a few kilometers off the northern coastline of Dominica. The summit of the higher dome (at 15.671?N, 61.476?W) was 153 m below sea level. This northern coastline terminating the N end of the Morne aux Diables complex forms a linear cliff that may represent a fault.

Seismic swarm during 2009-2010. The most common area of seismicity, as noted by Watts and others (2012a and 2012b), has been in the SE sector of Dominica. In the north there were spurts in activity in 1841, 1893, 2000, and a particularly intense week-long burst of more than 500 earthquakes in 2003. Following six years of low-level activity, a nearly continuous series of earthquakes was recorded beneath the central area of Morne aux Diables beginning in June 2009. The seismic swarm continued through at least 2010 with variations in activity that are consistent with volcano-tectonic (VT) activity.

The VT series reached a peak in December 2009, with many events felt by villagers on the flanks of the volcano, but earthquake activity afterwards gradually been diminishing. Beginning in December 2010, VT earthquakes exhibited a gradual shallowing with time (a few approaching 1 km depth), indicating that they are related to a vertical re adjustment of the stresses below the volcano, most likely caused by magma movement (Watts and others, 2012b).

References. Lindsay, J.M., Smith, A.L., Roobol, M.J., and Stasiuk, M.V., 2005, Dominica in Lindsay, J.M., Robertson, R.E.A., Shepherd, J.B. and Ali, S. (eds), Volcanic Hazard Atlas of the Lesser Antilles, Seismic Research Centre, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies, p. 1-48.

Roobol, M.J., and Smith, A.L., 2004a. Volcanology of Saba and St. Eustatius, northern Lesser Antilles, Amsterdam: Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Letters, 320 p.

Roobol, M.J., and Smith, A.L., 2004b, Geologic map of Dominica, West Indies (URL: http://www.caribbeanvolcanoes.com/dominica/content/dominicamap.pdf).

Watts, R.B., Robertson, R.E., Abraham, W., Cole, P., de Roche, T., Edwards, S., Higgins, M., Johnson, M., Joseph, E.P., Latchman, J., Lynch, L., Nisha, N., Ramsingh, C., and Stewart, R.C., 2012a , Elevated seismic activity beneath the slumbering Morne aux Diables volcano, Northern Dominica and the monitoring role of the Seismic Research Center, poster presentation at the 2012 American Geophyhsical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

Watts, R., Robertson, R., Abraham, W., Cole, P., Corriette, D., de Roche, T., Edwards, S., Higgins, M., Issacs, N., Johnson, M., Joseph, E., Latchman, J., Lynch, L., Nisha, N., Phillip, B., Ramsingh, C., and Stewart, R., 2012b, Elevated seismic activity beneath the slumbering Morne aux Diables volcano, northern Dominica, poster on UWISRC web (URL: http://www.uwiseismic.com/Downloads/Dominica_activity_Poster_Watts.pdf).

Information Contacts: Robert B. Watts, The University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies (URL: http://www.uwiseismic.com/).

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.

Eruptive History

The Global Volcanism Program is not aware of any Holocene eruptions from Morne aux Diables. If this volcano has had large eruptions (VEI >= 4) prior to 10,000 years ago, information might be found on the Morne aux Diables page in the LaMEVE (Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions) database, a part of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).

Deformation History

There is no Deformation History data available for Morne aux Diables.

Emission History

There is no Emissions History data available for Morne aux Diables.

Photo Gallery

Morne aux Diables stratovolcano at the northern tip of the island of Dominica rises above beaches on the NE shore of the island near the village of Calibishie. Several nested craters and a 90-m-high, 335-m-wide lava dome are located within a larger 1.2-km-wide crater. The youngest, NW crater contains an active fumarolic area. No eruptions are known in historical time. Severe earthquake swarms in 1841 and 1893 were associated with either Morne aux Daibles or Morne Diablotins to the south.

Photo by Jan Lindsay, 2000 (Seismic Research Unit, University of West Indies)
See title for photo information.
The NW side of Morne aux Diables volcano at the northern tip of Dominica is seen from the hydrofoil ferry between Guadeloupe and Dominica. Lava domes are prominent on the 681-m-high volcano, both at the summit and its flanks. Bathymetry reveals evidence for a twin-peaked lava dome about 5 km off the NW coast that reaches to within 153 m of the sea surface. Both domes, known informally as Twin Peaks, rise more than 1000 m above the sea floor.

Photo by Paul Kimberly, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
Morne aux Diables volcano rises above the Atlantic coast of NW Dominica. The summit of the volcano is formed by a complex of lava domes, and flank domes, which extend in a roughly E-W chain across the southern flank of the volcano, are visible on the left horizon.

Photo by Paul Kimberly, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
Morne aux Diables volcano at the northern tip of Dominica is a stratovolcano composed of andesitic lava domes, lava flows, and block-and-ash flow deposits well exposed in coastal sea cliffs. Volcanism at the dominantly Pleistocene Morne aux Diables is considered to have likely continued into the Holocene; unconsolidated block-and-ash flow deposits extend to the NW and NE coasts. Fumarolic areas are present on the volcano, and the Penville Cold Soufrière, an area of bubbling pools, lies within the youngest crater of the volcano.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

There are no samples for Morne aux Diables in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites