Government Information Service

The Volcanic Explanation
For The 24 Hour Period Ending 7 AM On Friday January 31, 1997
A Presentation Of The Government Information Services
In Conjunction With The MVO.

The activity at the Soufriere Hills volcano has shown a slight increase over the last 24 hours. There have been frequent rockfalls some producing ash.

The recent extrusion seems to have stopped growing in height but is extending sideways to both the east and north west. The eastern face of it is very unstable and likely to collapse at any time.

Scientists took a close look at Galways Wall yesterday (Thursday) and there is very little change to both the cracks and the dome material overtopping it.

Volcano-tectonic earthquakes (VT's) which normally indicate magma is trying to reach the surface from shallow depths below the crater have continued in their swarm pattern. There have been almost 100 VT's in the last 24 hours.

COSPEC measurements carried out yesterday showed a sulphur dioxide content in the atmosphere of 780 tonnes which is slightly higher than normal.

This morning (Friday) the dome has been covered in cloud because of overnight rain and therefore there is very little visibility. However scientists are expecting a collapse of the dome on its eastern side in the very near future as it is very steep and unstable.

The alert level remains at ORANGE and the W. H. Bramble Airport is open as normal. Scientists are warning people to stay away from Long Ground, the Tar River Valley and Upper Galways as they are considered very dangerous. These areas are already evacuated and relocated.

Government Information Service