Government Information Service

The Volcanic Explanation
For The 24 Hour Period Ending 7 AM On Tuesday January 14, 1997
A Presentation Of The Government Information Services
In Conjunction With The MVO.

During the last 24 hours rockfall and pyroclastic flow activity was the highest for many months. Around mid day yesterday (Monday) there were pyroclastic flows reaching the sea and ash clouds as high as 20,000 feet.

Visual observations were possible and scientists noted that the largest flows originated from the south of the new lava dome (dome # 3) and travelled down the south of Castle Peak and along the south gully of the Tar River Valley.

There was a series of volcano - tectonic earthquakes before the pyroclastic flow activity started. In addition there was high overnight activity continuing through to this morning.

Lots of ash fell in the Plymouth area making motoring conditions very difficult and checkpoints were closed for most of yesterday afternoon.

Early this morning the activity subsided a little and it is hoped that a helicopter survey will begin shortly. It is thought that the dome is very unstable and is likely to collapse very shortly.

The alert remains at ORANGE and the W.H. Bramble Airport is open. The Tar River Valley / Long Ground area is considered to be extremely dangerous and everyone is urged from entering these areas.

The summit of the volcano is very cloudy as this is being written so no good views are possible from the ground.

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