Press Release
April 20, 2021
Rabacca not a safe vantage point to sightsee eruptions of La Soufriere

There is no reason why persons can’t view the volcano’s eruptions from a safe vantage point on the island, instead of going into the danger zones to do so.

The issue of “sight seeing” the volcano after/during every explosive event was raised by Minister Curtis King, on NBC radio on April 20, who said he was speaking more about the Eastern side.

“Is it possible that you would have pyroclastic flows in that vicinity and as such it is of course dangerous for persons to be in that area taking their pictures and so on during an eruption?” he asked.

Lead scientist for the team monitoring the volcano, Professor Richard Robertson of the University of the West Indies(UWI)- Seismic Research Centre(SRC), indicated “There are places, there are lots of vantage points, you don’t have to go to Rabacca,” to see the volcano’s events.

“Rabacca, it’s a bad idea, extremely bad because Rabacca is one of the primary paths for pyroclastic flows to come down. It’s also a path by which Lahars come down,” he noted.

Mudflow may be big enough that they need not be confined, and it could reestablish the valley’s full extent.

“Rabacca doesn’t start at where you see the start of the road at the bridge, the Rabacca starts all the way back about 200 or 300 metres,” Robertson said, “so it’s very wide.”

“…when you think you’re standing on the side of the Rabacca, you’re actually in the Rabacca, right, so you need to understand that.”

Additionally, pyroclastic flows (moving masses of gas, ash and solidified lava moving at a high speed and at a very high temperature) have already come down into the upper parts of this valley during the April 13 eruption, and this would have laid down a path to make it easier for future flows.

“…As it is now, I would not be surprised if the next pyroclastic flow that comes down in that direction gets to the sea, because I think the upper parts of the Rabacca have already been filled in. So again it makes the point that that place is extremely dangerous,” the scientist reiterated.

“Rabacca is a place that you can have pyroclastic flows and surges, that you can have lahars. That you could have fragments of rock that could hurt you that could fall on your head; they haven’t done that yet, but it could do that. So, it’s not a place that you should go for sightseeing. There are lots of other places that you could go safely,” Robertson concluded.