Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Morning Report
Report for the period 4 pm 3 July
to 7 am 4 July 1997

The alert level system has been revised by zones

Activity at the volcano increased gradually after 4pm yesterday, and a prolonged, large ash eruption started slowly at about 6.30 pm (at about the same time as on the previous two days). This episode lasted just over an hour and produced a very large ash cloud which rose to over 35,000ft. There was a small pyroclastic flow into the top of Fort Ghaut at the start of the activity, and then further flows into Mosquito Ghaut. As far as could be seen in the failing light, the latter flows appeared to reach as far as Paradise River.

The remainder of the night was quiet. At dawn, there was some heavy rain and the mountain was in cloud. The tiltmeters on Chance's Peak were indicating that further volcanic activity could be expected in the next hour or two.

If the rain continues, there could be an onset of mudflow activity in many of the Ghauts, and people are reminded that these can be extremely hot if recent deposits are remobilised. The current area of activity in the crater makes Mosquito Ghaut and Gages the most likely pathways for pyroclastic flows and surges, but further flows in Tuitt's or Tar River are possible. The Belham River valley is also dangerous and should not be entered. Access to Plymouth is completely restricted, and people should stay completely away from the flanks of the volcano. Everyone should continue to stay alert, and listen to Radio Montserrat for any announcements.

Montserrat Volcano Observatory