Report on Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) — 10 May-16 May 2006
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 May-16 May 2006
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2006. Report on Soufriere Hills (United Kingdom) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 May-16 May 2006. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
16.72°N, 62.18°W; summit elev. 915 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 5-12 May, the new lobe of the lava dome at Soufrière Hills that developed towards the S produced rockfalls that predominantly extended from the W to the SE. On the 12th, the lava dome volume was approximately 80 million cubic meters, having grown at an average rate of 8 cubic meters per second through April. Seismicity typical of this current growth phase was dominated by rockfall activity during the report period. The average sulfur-dioxide flux during the week was 702 metric tons per day.
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.