Government Information Service

The Volcanic Explanation
For The 24 Hour Period Ending 6 PM On Friday 13 December, 1996
A Presentation Of The Government Information Services
In Conjunction With The MVO

The activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano remains at a low level with the number of volcano-tectonic earthquakes at very low levels, only two were measured today (Friday). For the first time in many days visibility at the crater and dome area was clear and observations were possible from the helicopter.

Scientists observed that there has been a spurt of dome growth and a third dome is growing in the area close to the other two which bears out the view that the dome is pressurised. This dome growth could make pyroclastic flows in the Tar River Valley likely again.

The cracks at Galways Wall are still giving scientists serious concern and the wall continues to disintegrate and could collapse at any time. New fractures were noticed today and they run parallel to the top of the wall for a distance of about 100 metres. Some cracks are now about 3 feet wide. This could lead to a lateral blast that could cause pyroclastic flows and surges in any direction around the volcano. Such an event could occur at any time with little or now warning.

Some Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) was carried out today and the Castle Peak lines have shortened by about 3 centimetres since December 4th.

The alert level remains at ORANGE which means there should be no one living in Zones A,B,C, and D.

At the MVO, Dr. Willie Aspinall took over as Chief Scientists today from Dr. Simon Young who is on a working holiday in Britain.

Government Information Service