Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Morning Report
Report for the period 4 pm 2 October
to 7 am 3 October 1997

During the reporting period there was one explosion which occurred at 10:50pm last night. Seismic activity at the volcano was low yesterday afternoon and early evening and there were no earthquakes prior to the explosion. Pyroclastic flows generated during the explosion travelled down Gages valley and Tuitt's Ghaut, an observation flight later today will assess the extent of these flows and whether or not the Tar River or White River valleys were also affected. The ash cloud from this explosion rapidly reached over 10,000ft and drifted towards the north east. Ash fall affected most of the island and Antigua also experienced light ash fall.

The level of seismic activity has remained low throughout the early hours of this morning, with only two rockfall events and three small volcano-tectonic earthquakes.

The volcano remains in a very dangerous and unpredictable state. Further explosions are very likely and these could be bigger than those already experienced. Tyer's Ghaut is filling up rapidly and pyroclastic flows in Tyer's Ghaut or Gages valley could reach the Belham valley at any time. Such an event would seriously affect Friths and Salem. 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