Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Morning Report
Report for the period 16:00 18 May
to 07:00 19 May 1997
The current alert level is ORANGE

The level of volcanic activity has remained high throughout the night, with more earthquakes and small pyroclastic flows to the north and north-east sides of the dome.

A hybrid earthquake swarm started at 4:10 pm, and was followed at around 8 pm by a period of dome collapse, with small pyroclastic flows to the north and north-east. The earthquake swarm and pyroclastic flows were not as large as the episodes yesterday morning, and the level of activity declined at 8:30 pm.

Another hybrid earthquake swarm began at 4:10 this morning, and is ongoing. Most of the earthquakes are small. There have also been a few small pyroclastic flows. One of these on the northern side of the dome, at just after 6 am, was observed from the airport and there was some spillage of material over the northern wall and into the top of one of the ghauts.

The volcano is free of cloud this morning, but heavy steam and ash generation has obscured the top of the dome. Observations from the airport indicate that the tall spine on top of the dome has collapsed.

Further pyroclastic flows are expecting within the next few hours. Due to the switch in the area of dome growth in the last few days, the northern side of the volcano is becoming more dangerous. People should stay away from the ghauts on the northern and north-east side of the dome, and visits to the central corridor should be restricted to those that are absolutely essential. The Tar River and Long Ground areas are extremely dangerous, and should not be entered.

Montserrat Volcano Observatory