Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Daily Report
Report for the period 16:00 24 January
to 16:00 25 January 1997
The current alert level is ORANGE

The level of volcanic activity has remained at a low level during the last 24 hours. The main seismic activity has been another short swarm of volcano-tectonic earthquakes. The continued low cloud and rain has hampered field operations.

A total of 27 volcano-tectonic earthquakes were recorded, most of them in a swarm which lasted from 11:02 am to 13:25 pm. Most of the earthquakes were too small to locate. All of the larger earthquakes were in the same place as previous swarms- that is, at shallow depths beneath the volcano. There were also 23 rockfall signals, 1 long-period and 2 hybrid earthquakes. A strong regional earthquake, of magnitude about 5, occurred to the north-east of Antigua this afternoon at 10:52 am. It was reported felt in Montserrat, Antigua and St Kitts.

Yesterday's COSPEC measurements gave an average sulphur dioxide flux of 590 tonnes per day. This is lower that the previous measurement, made after the dome collapse on Monday, but still higher than the normal level.

Observers at Whites this morning and this afternoon could not see the dome, because of the low cloud. All indications are that the dome continues to grow in the south-east crater. Further pyroclastic flows are likely in the next few days. Although the dome is likely to collapse in small chunks, producing small to large pyroclastic flows, a major collapse can not be ruled out. Should this occur, another explosion similar to that of September 1996 could result. It is however expected that there would be several hours of high level pyroclastic flow activity before any explosion. Zone E, which includes Cork Hill and the airport, remains safe.

Montserrat Volcano Observatory