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Soufriere leaves gaping hole as it blasts out domes

Soufriere leaves gaping hole as it blasts out domes

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INSTEAD of the two rock domes that had previously formed in the crater of La Soufriere, there is now a gaping hole from which explosions/venting is taking place.

From satellite imagery, “We now know that the new dome and the old dome are gone. They have been destroyed completely,” informed Professor Richard Robertson, Vincentian geologist and volcanologist who heads the team from the University of the West Indies-Seismic Research Centre(UWI-SRC) and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory( MVO) monitoring the volcano.

Since December 2020 a dome had been created by the oozing of magma, and had grown to a volume of 13 million cubic metres before the explosive phase of eruptions began at 8:41am on Friday, April 9. This dome had formed to the side of an older and bigger dome from the 1979 eruption, and had been wrapping around it. Now, both have been blown to pieces into the atmosphere by the ongoing explosive eruptions.

“We now have a crater at the summit of Soufriere, a vent opening that is estimated to be 825m by 715m in dimensions,” Robertson said while giving a morning update on NBC radio Monday, April 12.

“We have a huge hole in the mountain in the middle, and it is from there since around two days ago, that all of the action is happening.”

This opening is more or less in the middle of the crater where the two domes were.

“All of that has been going up in the air and falling as ash here and in Barbados and other places, and it is from this that the mountain is now producing freely, explosions,” the geologist explained.

He said further, that the crater probably does not have anything in it other than fresh magma.

In order for La Soufriere’s explosions to end, there may be the formation of another dome, “or it might end up with an open crater,” he said.

“So when you go up to Soufriere in the future it’s gonna be a very different mountain and you’re gonna see things much different. There’s no more dome, it’s gone,” Robertson concluded.