Government Information Service

The Volcanic Explanation
For The 24 Hour Period Ending 7 AM On Thursday February 20, 1997
A Presentation Of The Government Information Services
In Conjunction With The MVO.

The current alert level is AMBER

The level of activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano in Montserrat has been low over the past 24 hours, however there was an increase in seismic activity overnight.

There have been several earthquake swarms consisting of volcano-tectonic and hybrid events which indicate to scientists that there is incresed growth of the dome. Earlier in the week the estimated growth rate of the dome was 4 cubic metres of material per second.

In addition there have been some rockfall signals and most of this activity is concentrated on the south east face of the dome, there has been little activity at Galways wall in the last day.

The results of the dome survey carried out on February 17 were announced yesterday (Weds) and these show that the total volume of the dome is now over 40 million cubic metres. This is the largest the dome has ever been. This means that there could be further collapses leading to pyroclastic flows and ash fallouts.

At the moment, the alert level is AMBER and residents can enter all Zones except Zone A (the zone closest to the volcano) during daylight hours. As there is a curfew at nights from dusk to dawn in Zones A,B, and C there is only nightime occupation of Zones D to G.

Residents are being warned that there could be an escallation of activity at any time and should always have a rapid means of exit from the unsafe zones, keep their portable radios tuned to ZJB for updates, wear their dust masks and take special precautions if crossing to areas south of Fort Ghaut as this is prone to flooding.

Public Works Dept continue to clean the volcanic debris from Fort Ghaut in an effort to keep the rain run offs clear.

Government Information Service