Report on Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — 13 March-19 March 2013
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
13 March-19 March 2013
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2013. Report on Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 March-19 March 2013. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
16.72°N, 62.18°W; summit elev. 915 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
MVO reported that during 8-15 March activity at the Soufrière Hills lava dome was at a low level. During a helicopter overflight on 8 March, scientists observed a large fissure in the cliff on the E side of the lava dome, part of which had existed since 2007. This fissure was the result of slow cooling and erosion of the dome. It was parallel to the cliff face and estimated to be 2 m wide, suggesting that a large slab was slowing moving away from the dome. The Hazard Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-5).
Geological Summary. The complex, dominantly andesitic Soufrière Hills volcano occupies the southern half of the island of Montserrat. The summit area consists primarily of a series of lava domes emplaced along an ESE-trending zone. The volcano is flanked by Pleistocene complexes to the north and south. English's Crater, a 1-km-wide crater breached widely to the east by edifice collapse, was formed about 2000 years ago as a result of the youngest of several collapse events producing submarine debris-avalanche deposits. Block-and-ash flow and surge deposits associated with dome growth predominate in flank deposits, including those from an eruption that likely preceded the 1632 CE settlement of the island, allowing cultivation on recently devegetated land to near the summit. Non-eruptive seismic swarms occurred at 30-year intervals in the 20th century, but no historical eruptions were recorded until 1995. Long-term small-to-moderate ash eruptions beginning in that year were later accompanied by lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows that forced evacuation of the southern half of the island and ultimately destroyed the capital city of Plymouth, causing major social and economic disruption.