Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Daily Report
Report for the period 4 pm 13 October
to 4 pm 14 October 1997

There have been two more explosive eruptions during the reporting period, both sending ash towards the north-east and producing pyroclastic flows down most of the ghauts around the volcano. Seismic activity remains at a low to moderate level. Recent rainfall and changes in wind direction have helped to keep ash levels down.

Explosions occurred at 1:36 this morning and at 1:48 this afternoon. Cloud cover obscured the upper parts of the eruption column in both cases, but the plume was directed and blown in a north-easterly direction from both explosions. There was no fallout on inhabited areas of Montserrat from either event, although ash fall did occur in Antigua.

Pyroclastic flows from the explosions could be seen to travel down Tuitt's and Tyer's ghauts and down Gages valley - no visual observations have yet been possible of new deposits in these or other ghauts. Both explosions during this period were directed northwards so that the main flows went down Tuitt's Ghaut. However, a large flow was seen in Gages valley from the explosion this afternoon, which probably reached past the southern end of Lover's Lane.

The seismic network recorded 2 long-period events, 6 vts, 7 hybrids and 2 rockfall signals during the reporting period. Most of the events came in the few hours before the two explosions, but there are still no real precursor signals to the explosive events.

Rain during today as well as a shift in the wind direction has kept ash levels down. The amount of ash in the air both in Northern and Central Montserrat is low. Readings are being taken for Central Montserrat in the Olveston area and in Northern Montserrat in the Mongo Hill area. Readings are taken as an average over the period of the report. Peaks in ash levels still occur, and ash masks should be worn routinely in ashy environments such as close to roads, especially when it is dry.

More explosions are expected and they may get bigger, producing longer and faster pyroclastic flows. The Belham valley is still under considerable threat from the volcano and all persons remaining in the Old Towne, Frith and Salem areas should move further north. All parts of the evacuated zone south of the Belham River remain very dangerous, and no one should venture into these areas.

After explosions, fallout can occur anywhere on the island and hard hats or other suitable protection should be worn outside if rocks start to fall. If possible, close shutters and stay indoors until the fallout is over. Driving during ash or pumice fall is dangerous and should be avoided if possible. When driving on ashy roads drive slowly, particularly near pedestrians, and allow plenty of time for your journey. Everyone is advised to keep listening to Radio Montserrat for information on the activity.

Montserrat Volcano Observatory