Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Daily Report
Report for the period 16:00 09 February
to 16:00 10 February 1997
The current alert level is ORANGE

Activity at the Soufriere Hills volcano has remained at about the same low level as the previous reporting period. There was a volcano tectonic earthquake swarm, followed closely by a sequence of repetitive hybrid earthquakes and near continuous rockfall activity. Another rockfall occurred over the Galways crater wall.

The earthquake swarm and hybrid sequence occurred between 5:20 am and 11:10 am this morning. A total of 77 volcano tectonic earthquakes and 20 hybrid earthquakes were recorded, along with 40 isolated rockfall signals. Apart from these activities, the volcano has been quiet for most other times.

During and shortly after the sequence of repetitive hybrid earthquakes, observers from Whites noticed ash venting and near-continuous rockfall activity from above the location of where Castle Peak used to be. This produced some very small pyroclastic flows which travelled down the neighbouring chutes to the base of Perches Mountain. Some small ash clouds were produced. The crater area was inspected from the helicopter this morning. New rockfall deposits from the pre-September dome were seen in the upper reaches of the White river valley. The deposits reached within 50 meters of Galyays Soufriere. No marked changes were observed on the dome.

Despite the low level of activity, the eastern face of the dome is steep, and likely to undergo further collapse. Any collapses are likely to be gradual, and follow the recent pattern. However, a larger collapse cannot be ruled out. An explosion similar to that of September 1996 could result in the event of a major collapse which lasted for several hours. Zone E, which includes Cork Hill and the airport, remains safe. The Tar River Valley and the upper Galway's area are very dangerous.

Montserrat Volcano Observatory