Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Morning Report
Report for the period 4 pm 18 September
to 7 am 19 September 1997

Volcanic activity was at a relatively low level overnight. Activity was dominated by small and medium sized rockfalls caused by unstable material falling from the dome. Any periods of heightened activity were less clearly defined than the previous few days.

The area above Tuitt's ghaut is the main active area on the dome at the moment and rockfalls have been confined to this region. However, visual observations confirm that there is a large overhanging mass above the Gages valley which appears highly unstable. This is likely to lead to larger collapses in this direction.

Although levels of activity have been lower in the last 24 hours, the probability of larger collapses remains high. The timing and size of these collapses is impossible to predict, but large pyroclatic flows could travel far down the Belham Valley as far as the sea. Residents of the exclusion zone south of Nantes River are thus urged to move north, as pyroclastic flows in the Belham Valley could produce surges threatening the Friths, Old Towne, Olveston and Salem areas.

Large collapse espisodes have in the past lead to explosive activity at the volcano, and residents are reminded that ash and rocks could fall anywhere on the island during such activity. If an explosion occurs, seek shelter indoors under a strong roof. All Montserratians are advised to keep listening to Radio Montserrat for updates on the situation.

Montserrat Volcano Observatory