Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Morning Report
Report for the period 4 pm 28 June
to 7 am 29 June 1997
The current alert level is ORANGE

Volcanic activity was relatively quiet during the early evening. Shortly before 10pm, there was a sudden short upsurge in seismic activity accompanied by a vigorous vertical ash cloud. Incandescent material was seen to be ejected to low heights above the crater.

Activity then dropped for the night but picked up again about 4.25am this morning. A rise in seismic energy signalled the start of a period of pulses of ash production of increasing intensity. Much of this was convected slowly upwards, eventually producing a cloud which attained a height of about 20,000ft. There were several associated pyroclastic flows down the Mosquito Ghaut, the largest of which, at 6.05am, reached the vicinity of Harris's village.

Activity had diminished by 7am. An inspection from the helicopter revealed that little or no material had flowed down Fort Ghaut during this episode.

The pyroclastic flow and surge deposits will remain extremely hot for several days. Residents must not approach, attempt to handle or walk on the deposits because of the risk of severe burning. There is a risk of hot mudflows in some of the ghauts if heavy rain falls, and these would be extremely dangerous for anyone caught in their path.

There is likely to be some resuspension of ash in the air today especially if it does not rain. Residents and workers are urged to wear a dust mask.

The current area of pyroclastic flow activity makes Mosquito Ghaut the most likely pathway, but further flows in Gages, Tuitt's or Tar River are probable as well. The Belham River valley is also extremely dangerous and should not be entered. Access to Plymouth is completely restricted. Zones A and B are extremely dangerous and nobody should go into these areas at all.

The airport is closed today and will remain closed until further notice.

Montserrat Volcano Observatory