Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Daily Report
Report for the period 16:00 7 January
to 16:00 8 January 1997
The current alert level is ORANGE

The October 1 dome has been very active during this period, producing many rockfalls and small pyroclastic flows. The level of activity has increased in the last 24 hours, with several pyroclastic flows in the Tar River valley. The activity has increased further this afternoon, leading to near-continuous ash clouds above the volcano. A major collapse of the dome could happen any time during the next few days, and there is a chance that this will lead to an explosion similar to that of 17/18 September. At the moment, the scientists are confident that zone E and the airport remain safe. However, the situation could change, and residents of Montserrat should remain alert and continue to listen to Radio Montserrat.

Visibility has been variable today, and some views of the dome have been possible. There seems to have been further growth in the northwest part of the October 1 dome, and pyroclastic flows on the eastern side have eroded several channels in the dome, particularly at Castle Peak. This afternoon, there was a series of pulsed pyroclastic flows which travelled down the Castle Peak chute in the Tar River valley, and got as far as the Tar River Estate House.

Excellent visibility last night allowed the active areas of dome growth to be seen clearly from many points around the volcano. The dome is currently active over about one-third of its circumference, and many glowing channels were visible. The eastern side of the dome was most active, with many rockfalls and pyroclastic flows occurring down a channel through Castle Peak. The northern side of the dome was also active.

The seismic activity continues to be dominated by rockfalls and pyroclastic flows. A total of 131 rockfall were recorded today, a slight increase on the 121 recorded yesterday. The size of the largest pyroclastic flow signals has increased slightly since yesterday. There was a slight increase in the level of other seismic activity, with 31 hybrid earthquakes recorded, four long-period earthquakes and one volcano-tectonic earthquake.

Chan Ramsingh from the Seismic Research Unit left Montserrat yesterday at the end of his tour of duty. Rod Stewart left MVO today for a short holiday.

Montserrat Volcano Observatory