Government Information Service

The Volcanic Explanation
For The 24 Hour Period Ending 7 AM On Friday May 23, 1997
A Presentation Of The Government Information Services
In Conjunction With The MVO.

The current alert level is ORANGE

For the first third of the 24 hour period under review the activity at the Soufriere Hills Volcano was at a low level. Then at about 3 pm yesterday (Thursday) the activity ramped up again with a period of sustained elevated volcanic activity.

This started with rockfalls and pyroclastic flows from the upper parts of the dome leading to continuous ash generation, this resulted in ash falls in all parts of the island including St Johns in the north. Rock fragments measuring about 1 mm fell at Farrell's.

There were in addition several swarms of hybrid earthquakes, one of them is continuing as we write. Earlier there had been some long period and volcano-tectonic earthquakes.

Scientists from the MVO installed a further tiltmeter at Chances Peak yesterday during a brief period of clear skies. Montserratians took the opportunity of this brief interlude to inspect the dome which has now got a volume of 63 million cubic metres. Also yesterday a northern EDM survey was completed and results will be known later.

Due to early morning rain the dome is covered by cloud this morning but it is known that the activity continues to be on the northern side of the dome. Further pyroclastic flows are expected during the course of the day making Zones A and B very dangerous. No one should visit these areas at all.

The alert level remains at ORANGE and everyone must remain vigilant and stay tuned to ZJB Radio for further updates.

Government Information Service