A Caribbean island has issued a “red alert” and ordered an evacuation following warnings of an “imminent” volcanic eruption.
The Caribbean island of St. Vincent is now on red alert and an evacuation order has been given as the La Soufriere volcano shows signs of an imminent eruption.
Residents of St. Vincent on Thursday were told to leave their homes due to the “significant increase in the risk of an eruption.” Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said people living in red zones –located in the northwest and northeast of the island– needed to leave immediately as the volcano continued to stir.
“There is now in the country an evacuation order,” announced Gonsalves in a message broadcast on social media. Shortly after the announcement, the roads leading out of the affected areas were jammed with traffic, with as many as 100,000 people reportedly heeding the order:
Ships were assisting with the evacuation effort as the “glowing, fiery appearance” of the volcano’s lava dome became visible as darkness fell, said St. Vincent’s National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) on Twitter: there was now a “substantial prospect of disaster” due to the pick-up in seismic activity.
At a press conference, geologist Richard Robertson said signals show La Soufriere could erupt in a matter of days or even hours, reports news784.com. Robertson also said that at 3 am on Thursday monitoring stations had reported low-level seismic activity, with four different incidents at varying times, with the latest at 10 am. Long-period earthquakes were also reported. This uptick in activity is indicative of fresh magma trying to reach the surface, and a sign that the volcano was moving into “an explosive stage”.
Latest images –before night fell– showed a glowing dome, and also revealed that the dome’s height was now above the southern crater wall:
St. Vincent has not seen volcanic activity since the late 1970s.
A major eruption at La Soufriere back in 1902 (during the solar minimum of cycle 13, and the Centennial Minimum) killed around 1,600 people–most of them indigenous Caribs.
Local media have also reported increased activity at Mount Pelee on the island of Martinique, which lies to the north of St. Vincent beyond St. Lucia. This is a concerning development — the major 1902 eruption at La Soufriere coincided with the catastrophic VEI 4 Mont Pelée eruption on Martinique–one of the deadliest eruptions in recorded history in which more than 29,000 people perished.
And as we know, history repeats…
Stratovolcano: 1220 m / 4,003 ft
West Indies, St. Vincent: 13.33°N / -61.18°W
Current status: ERUPTING
Eruption list: La Soufrière violently erupted in 1718, 1812, 1902 and 1979.
Soufrière St. Vincent is the northernmost and youngest volcano on St. Vincent Island.
The 1.6-km wide summit crater, whose NE rim is cut by a crater formed in 1812, lies on the SW margin of the 2.2-km-wide Somma crater, which is breached widely to the SW as a result of slope failure.
Frequent explosive eruptions since about 4300 years ago produced pyroclastic deposits of the Yellow Tephra Formation, which blanket much of the island. The first historical eruption of the volcano took place during 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 in a lake that filled the crater prior to an eruption in 1979. The lake was then largely ejected during a series of explosive eruptions, and the dome was replaced with another.
For more, see volcanodiscovery.com.
Seismic and Volcanic activity has been correlated to changes in the Sun.
The recent global uptick in earthquakes and volcanic eruptions is likely attributed to the drop-off in solar activity, coronal holes, a waning magnetosphere, and the increase in Galactic Cosmic Rays penetrating silica-rich magma.
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Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift