Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Morning Report
Report for the period 4 pm 1 October
to 7 am 2 October 1997

There have been two further explosions at the volcano during this reporting period, at 5:41 pm yesterday and at 1:05 this morning. Seismic activity has remained at a moderate level.

The first explosion of the period, late yesterday afternoon, produced pyroclastic flows in Tuitt's Ghaut, Tar River and Gages. The extent of these flows has not yet been confirmed. Fallout from this event did not affect inhabited areas of Montserrat, with ash being blown westwards by the wind. The second explosion early this morning produced a high eruption column (over 10,000 feet) and fallout of clasts occurred over much of Montserrat, with ash also falling in many areas. Data is still being collected on the size of fallout.

There were a number of volcano-tectonic earthquakes prior to the explosion late yesterday afternoon, but little earthquake activity overnight, and there are no precursors to the explosions at present.

The volcano is in a very dangerous and unpredictable state. Further explosions are very likely and these could be bigger than those already experienced. Should the pyroclastic flows resulting from an explosion be channelled mainly down Tyer's Ghaut then they would reach the Belham valley. This could mean that Frith and Salem would be affected. All those remaining in the exclusion zone are urged to leave as soon as possible.

After explosions fallout may occur anywhere on the island, so hard hats or other suitable protection should be worn. Preferably, people should seek shelter in a sturdy building and wait for the fallout to end rather than trying to move or drive during the fallout period. Falling ash and pumice reduces visibility and makes driving conditions extremely hazardous. The pumice and coarse ash deposited over the previous few days has made many roads very treacherous. Plenty of time should be allowed for any journey and drivers should be very careful. The wearing of ash masks is recommended at all times. Everyone is advised to keep listening to Radio Montserrat for information on the activity.

Montserrat Volcano Observatory