Report on Soufriere St. Vincent (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) — 3 February-9 February 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
3 February-9 February 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Soufriere St. Vincent (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 3 February-9 February 2021. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
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)
University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC) and National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) reported that the lava dome in Soufrière St. Vincent’s main crater continued to grow during 1-9 February. Gas data analysis conducted during a field visit showed that sulfur dioxide emissions were first detected on 1 February, suggesting that ground water was drying up and no longer interacting with the gas species. The dome had an estimated volume of 5.93 million cubic meters. Scientists observed damaged vegetation, likely caused by fire, on the NW part of the crater (just N of the dome). A report on 6 February stated that the dome continued to spread laterally N and S, with N as the dominant growth direction. Gas-and-steam continued to rise from the top of the dome as well as along the contact of the old and new domes. Scientists visited the Wallibou Hot Spring area on 7 February after a report of anomalously higher temperatures and gas odors; they collected water samples and took temperatures measurements for later analysis. Initial findings suggested the presence of hydrogen sulfide in that area and temperatures that had increased around 5-6 degrees; the lead scientist noted that based on their findings there was no increased risk associated with the hot springs. NEMO reminded the public to avoid the volcano and that descending into the crater remained extremely dangerous. The Alert Level remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale).
Geological Summary. 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 caldera, which is breached widely to the SW as a result of slope failure. Frequent explosive eruptions after about 4,300 years ago produced pyroclastic deposits of the Yellow Tephra Formation, which cover 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 within a lake that filled the crater. A series of explosive eruptions in 1979 destroyed the 1971 dome and ejected the lake; a new dome was then built.