Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Morning Report
Report for the period 16:00 17 May
to 07:00 18 May 1997
The current alert level is AMBER

Volcanic activity was sustained at a high level yesterday afternoon and in the early evening. Regular rockfalls and several pyroclastic flows generated on the east and north-east sides of the dome were observed throughout the late afternoon. Ash generated by pyroclastic flows in the Tar River Valley drifted to the west over Plymouth throughout the late afternoon. Between 7.00pm and 3.00am seismic activity was generally low. At about 3.00am a swarm of hybrid events began which is ongoing but appeared to peak between 3.00am and 6.00am. Several volcano-tectonic events have also been recorded during this period. Regular rockfall signals and occasional pyroclastic flows have also occurred.

The top of the volcano remains obscured by low cloud cover this morning, but pyroclastic flows have been observed on the north east flank of the dome.

The recent increase in activity at Soufriere Hills Volcano indicates that the dome may be approaching the limits of stability. Pyroclastic flows are likely and may occur without warning in the Tar River or White River valleys. People should stay well away from these areas. Visitors to Zone C should be vigilant and ensure that they are carrying masks at all times. Zone A and Zone B should not be entered under any circumstances

Note: The alert level was increased to ORANGE at 9:00 am

Montserrat Volcano Observatory