Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Morning Report
Report for the period 4 pm 22 September
to 7 am 23 September 1997

Last night and this morning there were more explosive eruptions. The first occurred at 2042 last night. Again a loud roar was heard from the volcano. Incandescent material from subsequent pyroclastic flows was observed on Farrels plane and the in-named ghaut. A second explosion occurred this morning at 0723. Large pyroclastic flows were observed in Gages valley and the unnamed ghaut, with material getting as far as Dyers.

A vertical eruption column quickly rose to over 10,000 feet and vigorous pulses of ash venting continued for the period after the explosion. Thunder and lightning were observed in the ash cloud.

This further supports evidence that the volcano has entered another period of explosive activity similar to that experienced during early August. Further explosions are likely and these could be bigger than those experienced in the last two days. Much of the pyroclastic flow activity has been down the unnamed ghaut which means material will be able to enter the Belham valley more easily, with successive flows travelling further. An event directed down the Belham valley of a similar size to the one on Sunday morning which destroyed the airport would reach the Belham bridge and impact upon Friths and Salem. All those remaining in the exclusion zone are urged to leave as soon as possible.

In the event of explosion fallout may occur anywhere on the island, so hard hats or other suitable protection should be worn. People should seek shelter in a sturdy building. Falling ash and pumice reduces visibility and makes driving conditions extremely hazardous. The wearing of ash masks is recommended outdoors. Everyone is advised to keep listening to Radio Montserrat for information on the activity.

Montserrat Volcano Observatory