A 5.6 magnitude earthquake that occurred off Barbados early this morning is in no way connected to the ongoing effusive eruption at the La Soufriere volcano in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Lead scientist monitoring the volcano, volcanologist and geologist Professor Richard Robertson addressed this concern on NBC Radio during the Face-to-Face programme this morning.
Robertson explained that the earthquake off Barbados was related to plate movement and not La Soufriere volcano. He said: “Earthquakes that you all feel are not always related to the volcano. We had an earthquake off Barbados related to plate movements and nothing to do with the volcano and some people would have felt it.”
Many Vincentians did feel the earthquake and became immediately concerned that there was some connection. The professor said the period of elevated volcanic tectonic events at La Soufriere has ceased but the dome continues to extrude and grow. There are still earthquakes but not of that same kind. He said this is not unusual and from time-to-time changes will occur.
“At this point, it has gone back to a quieter seismic period but the dome is still growing and it’s not completely quiet. It has not gone back to sleep, the volcano is still erupting and we must keep our guard,” said Robertson.
The geologist also addressed a member of the public’s concern as to whether the Soufriere volcanoes in the Caribbean (St Vincent and the Grenadines, Montserrat and Guadeloupe) are linked.
His response to this was no.
Robertson explained that volcanoes do not work that way and that the volcanoes in the region are related to the movement of tectonic plates. He said the reason there are volcanoes in St Lucia, St Vincent and Dominica is related to this same plate movement.
He further explained the magma chamber and the source of the volcano in St Vincent and the Grenadines is different directly from the source of other volcanoes in the Caribbean.
The professor said: “Volcanoes do not directly affect each other in that way so that if Soufriere goes off somehow Martinique is going to go off. That thinking came from 1902 when both of them erupted around the same time, perhaps because of similar causes but not because they are linked.”