The situation at the volcano has reached a very serious stage, with pyroclastic flows in Tuitt's Ghaut today reaching to less than 150 yards from Bramble village. The authorities and MVO urge very strongly that people should immediately leave the revised no-go area, which includes Tuitt's, Bramble village, Bethel, Spanish Point, Farms and Harris. More pyroclastic flows are likely, and they will travel further.
Pyroclastic flows occurred regularly in Tuitt's Ghaut overnight and throughout the day. Most of the flows were small, and travelled to between 1 and 2 km from the dome, about the same distance as yesterday. There were two larger flows, at 12:07 pm and 12:13 pm. These had a runout distance of up to 2.9 km, and flowed into the lower reaches of Tuitt's Ghaut, about 250 metres from where the ghaut joins Paradise River. MVO scientists at Harris Lookout observed the flows, although the upper reaches of the valley were covered in cloud. The flow was relatively slow moving, and caused singeing and burning of vegetation all the way down the valley. For comparison, if these flows had occurred in the Tar River valley, they would have reached the sea. During the rest of the afternoon, the volcano has been quieter.
Ash production from regular small flows has been almost continuous throughout the day, with the clouds being blown to the west and mostly remaining in the air until they were off shore.
The seismic activity has been about the same in the last 24 hours, with few earthquakes. There has been a slight increase in the number of long-period earthquakes, with 8 recorded, of which 7 triggered pyroclastic flows. There were also three small hybrid earthquakes. A total of 174 rockfall and pyroclastic flows were recorded, a significant increase since yesterday.
COSPEC runs were made this afternoon along the central corridor as far as Harris. The results have not been processed, but the sulphur dioxide flux is estimated to be between 1000 to 2000 tonnes per day. Yesterday's measurements from the helicopter gave similar high values, equal to the highest peaks recorded in the past during periods of high pyroclastic flow activity.
More pyroclastic flows are expected in Tuitt's Ghaut overnight. They are likely to be larger and travel further. We repeat our plea to residents in the no-go area to leave immediately, rather than face the possibility of an agonising death which cannot be out-run.