Volcanic gases from the La Soufriere have damaged a number of newly installed monitoring equipment at the site.
And a ttrip to the volcano on February 18th, from the Leeward side, by members of The UWI Seismic Research Center (UWI-SRC) monitoring team, was for the specific purpose of replacing monitoring equipment that had been damaged.
On 29 December, 2020 an effusive eruption took place within the crater, with visible gas and steam being emitted. Since then there has been increase activity which caused a new dome to be formed adjacent to the existing one in the crater
The new dome has from that time to the present been emitting magma and gases. It has also grown appreciably.
On February 18, The UWI-SRC team reported damage to a number of components (equipment) of the monitoring system – damage which they attributed to the effect of the volcanic gases constantly being emitted.
The extent of the reach of the gases was seen when a camera which was fully encased in protective shields, was damaged. A new camera was installed that hopefully will better withstand the hazardous conditions.
Lead scientist on the ground, Dr Thomas Christopher, in an interview on Monday 22nd, said that at present the volcano is going through a gentle eruption, which is a very good thing.
“The fact that this has gone effusive initially does not rule out the fact that it can’t go explosive … we need to keep monitoring so we can have a good idea if it decides to go explosive, hopefully we can see it coming,” said Dr. Christopher.
” I think the most likely option right now is for it to stay effusive …… based on what we see it will go on a bit longer … it might stop eventually,” said Christopher, adding that he thinks the explosive option is at a low probability.
” The fact that this volcano is generating an effusive eruption and generation a dome is a very good thing because it means that gases can escape really slowly and there is less risk of an explosion,” said the Volcanologist .
Notwithstanding the ‘low probability’ of an explosive option, Dr. Christopher cautioned that citizens should not think of lowering their guard.