Scientists Continue to Monitor La Soufrière

Scientists continue to keep a close watch on the La Soufrière in St. Vincent that has been quiet for decades.

Magma began oozing out of La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Dec. 29.

Scientists with the Seismic Research Center at the University of the West Indies have confirmed that as of Tuesday, January 5, there was no explosive eruption. However, the magma reaching the surface is forming a growing dome in La Soufrière’s crater. The volcano is also releasing gas and steam.

The alert level on the northern end of St. Vincent, where La Soufrière sits, has been raised to orange, which means an eruption could occur with less than 24 hours’ notice.

Contrary to many reports, no evacuations have been ordered, according to the country’s National Emergency Management Organization.

People living near the summit of the volcano could experience stronger sulfur smells but it isn’t expected to be problematic for individuals suffering with respiratory issues such as asthama, according to UWI-SRC Geologist, Professor Richard Robertson, who gave an update on the current effusive eruption at La Soufrière volcano.

The last time La Soufrière erupted in 1979, more than 20,000 people were evacuated. An eruption in 1902 killed 1,565 people. Before that, the last major eruption was in 1812.

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