Morne aux Diables

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  • Dominica
  • West Indies
  • Lava dome(s)
  • Unknown - Undated Evidence
  • 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

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Morne aux Diables.

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

Index of Monthly Reports

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) Inactive; earthquake swarm began mid-2009, later shallowed


Contents of Monthly Reports

All information contained in these reports is preliminary and subject to change.

03/2013 (BGVN 38:03) Inactive; earthquake swarm began mid-2009, later shallowed

This, our first report on Morne aux Diables, was prompted by a note from Robert Watts at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre, who pointed out that the volcano remains quiet, though with noteworthy seismicity. He also provided clarifications regarding our geologic summary on the Morne aux Diables volcanic complex. Since this is our first report on this volcano and we have had comparatively few on any volcano on this island, we begin this report with a background section on volcanoes located on the island of Dominica. Recent seismicity is discussed in the section on Earthquakes.

Background. Morne aux Diables is the northernmost active volcanic center of the nine centers that exist on the island of Dominica (Lindsay and others, 2005) (figure 1). 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 (table 1 shows the locations and ages of the latest eruptive rocks from each of these volcanic centers).

Figure 1. Geologic map of Dominica, West Indies, showing Morne aux Diables volcanic center at N end of island. Original map by Roobol and Smith (2004a); copied from Lindsey and others (2005).

Table 1. The most recent eruptive age dates ('ybp' = years before present) reported for Dominica volcanic centers. Rock age dates from Lindsay and others (2005).

Volcanic Center          Latitude, Longitude    Summit          Most recent        Evidence
                                                elev. (m)    eruptive age dates

Morne aux Diables        15.61°N, 61.43°W       861             46,740 ybp         block-and-ash flow deposit
Morne Diablotins         15.50°N, 61.36°W       1,430           22,200 ybp         Grand Savanne ignimbrite
Morne Trois Pitons       15.37°N, 61.33°W       861             17,240 ybp         block-and-ash flow deposit
Wotten Waven caldera     15.32°N, 61.34°W       -             1,020 ± 40 ybp       Micotrin(?) pumiceous pyroclastic flow deposit
Valley of Desolation     -                      -             2,900 ± 370 ybp      wood
Grand Soufriere Hills    15.30°N, 61.28°W       582           10,320 ± 40 ybp
Morne Watt               15.31°N, 61.28°W       1,224         -- see Valley of Desolation in text --
Morne Anglais            15.28°N, 61.30°W       1,123         26,400 ± 2,500 ybp   scoria fall(?)
Morne Plat Pays          15.26°N, 61.34°W       940             450 ± 90 ybp       block-and-ash flow deposits

The only known historical eruptions on the island of Dominica were located in the Valley of Desolation in 1880 and 1997 (Siebert and others, 2010). Siebert and others (2010) also note evidence of recent eruptions from Morne Trois Pitons in 920 AD ± 50 yr, and from Morne Plat Pays in 1270 AD ± 50 yr.

The geology of geothermal areas explored in Dominica was described by Mandela Christian (2012). Previous Bulletin reports addressing Dominica, both discussing seismic increases without attendant eruptions, were issued on Morne Trois Pitons (the latest, SEAN 01:11) and Morne Plat Pays (the latest, BGVN 23:12).

Morne aux Diables complex. Watts sent to the Bulletin in September 2012 the following geological information concerning the Morne aux Diables complex, along with two photographs (figures 2 and 3). His work clarified patterns of seismicity, specifically volcano-tectonic earthquakes, which peaked in 2009 (Watts and others, 2012a, b). The Morne aux Diables complex is comprised of five intact andesitic crystal rich lava domes that form a central depression or 'pseudocrater'. Within the depression, a 'Cold Soufrière' is evident with hydrothermally altered rocks and many small bubbling pools. No eruptions are known from Morne aux Diables in historical time, although the volcano has a youthful appearance, and activity at flank domes likely continued into the late Pleistocene and Holocene (Lindsay and others, 2005). Currently, Ar40-Ar39 dating of blocks from each of the domes is being conducted by Watts.

Figure 2. Panoramic view from E Cabrits dome (see figure 1) 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 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 also suggested that, for the geological summary for Morne Aux Diables, the "Volcano Type" should be changed to 'Lava-dome complex' from 'Stratovolcano.'

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 (see figure 1).

Earthquakes. The pattern of earthquakes beneath Morne aux Diables was described by Watts and others (2012a and 2012b). "Historically, the most common area of seismic activity has been in the SE sector of Dominica. However, in the N, there have been spurts in activity in 1841, 1893, 2000, and a particularly intense week-long burst of >500 earthquakes in 2003. Following 6 years of low activity, a near-continuous series of earthquake events has been recorded beneath the central area of Morne aux Diables since June 2009... The seismic swarm continues with variations in activity that are more consistent with volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquake activity than a tectonic swarm."

The VT earthquakes series reached a peak in December 2009, with many felt events experienced by villagers on the flanks of the volcano, but earthquake activity since then has gradually been diminishing. Since December 2010, VT earthquakes centered at the volcano have shown 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. According to Watts and others (2012b), the seismic network increased from three stations to five stations in January 2010.

References. Christian, M.D., 2012, A geological outlook on geothermal explorations in Dominica, Geo-Heat Center, Oregon Institute of Technology, Quarterly Bulletin v. 31, no. 2, pp. 18-22 (http://www.geoheat.oit.edu/bulletin/bull31-2/art4.pdf).

Lindsay, J.M., Smith, A.L., Roobol, M.J., and Stasiuk, M.V., 2005, Dominica, p. 1-48 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, WI.

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).

Siebert, L., Simkin, T., and Kimberly, P., 2010, Volcanoes of the world, Smithsonian Institution, University of California Press, Berkeley, 551p.

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, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2012, San Francisco, CA (URL: http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2012/eposterss/eposter/v53e-2879/).

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, Email: robwatts@uwiseismic.com).

The relatively unknown 861-m-high Morne aux Diables (Devils' Peak) stratovolcano forms the northern tip of the island of Dominica. Several nested craters and a 90-m-high, 335-m-wide lava dome are located within a larger 1.2-km-wide crater. The complex overall includes seven andesitic lava domes with a central depression where a cold soufriere is located. A chain of lava domes, two of which form a peninsula on the SW flank, form an E-W belt across the southern flank of the volcano. Bathymetry shows a double-peaked lava dome (known informally as Twin Peaks) off the northern coast, which is truncated by a 4-km-long fault-bounded cliff. No eruptions are known from Morne aux Diables in historical time, although the volcano has a youthful appearance and activity at flank domes likely continued into the late-Pleistocene and Holocene. The youngest (NW) summit crater contains an active thermal area with bubbling springs. Severe earthquake swarms in 1841 and 1893 were associated with either Morne aux Diables or Morne Diablotins to the south. Shallow volcano-tectonic seismicity was detected as recently as February 2010.

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).

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.



Domes
Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Bellevue Mountain Dome 670 m 15° 37' 0" N 61° 27' 0" W
Brulés, Morne Dome 15° 35' 0" N 61° 27' 0" W
Destinée, Morne Dome 15° 35' 0" N 61° 26' 0" W
East Cabrit Dome 140 m 15° 35' 0" N 61° 29' 0" W
Twin Peaks Dome -153 m 15° 40' 15" N 61° 28' 35" W
West Cabrit Dome 170 m 15° 35' 0" N 61° 29' 0" W


Thermal
Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Penville Cold Soufrière Fumarole
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)
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).
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).
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).

The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.

Bellon H, 1988. Reconnaissance chronologique des deux premieres phases d'activite volcanique en Dominique (Petites Antilles). Compte Rendus Acad Sci Paris, 306: 1487-1492.

Lindsay J M, Smith A L, Roobol M J, Stasiuk M V, 2005b. Dominica. In: Lindsay J M, Robertson R E A, Shepherd J B, Ali S (eds). {Volcanic Hazard Atlas of the Lesser Antilles}, Trinidad and Tobago, Seismic Res Unit, Univ West Indies, p 1-47.

Robson G R, Tomblin J, 1966. West Indies. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 20: 1-56.

Shepherd J B, 1989. Eruptions, eruption precursors and related phenomena in the Lesser Antilles. In: Latter J H (ed), {Volcanic Hazards - Assessment and Monitoring}, Berlin: Springer-Verlag, p 292-311.

Shepherd J B, 2001. Volcanoes of the eastern Caribbean: past activity and future hazards. Paper presented at the Workshop on Volcanic and Seismic Hazards in the eastern Caribbean, May 28- June 1, 2001, 57 p.

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, Nath N, Ramsingh C, Stewart R C, 2012. Elevated seismic activity beneath the slumbering Morne aux Diables volcano, northern Dominica and the monitoring role of the Seismic Research Centre. 2012 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA (URL: http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2012/eposterss/eposter/v53e-2879/).

Volcano Types

Lava dome(s)
Stratovolcano

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Oceanic crust (< 15 km)

Rock Types

Major
Andesite / Basaltic Andesite
Dacite

Population

Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km
8,048
12,036
33,148
479,470

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Morne aux Diables Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
Smithsonian Collections Search the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections database. Go to the "Search Rocks and Ores" tab and use the Volcano Name drop-down to find samples.