Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Morning Report
Report for the period 4 pm 14 October
to 7 am 15 October 1997

Two explosions have occurred overnight. The first occurred at 23:16 and the second at 05:47 this morning. The earlier explosion at 23:16 produced an ash column >12,000 ft although cloud obscured the top of the column. Observers noted pyroclastic flows moving down the Gages valley about as far as Lovers lane and also into Tyer's ghaut. The second explosion during the reporting period was notably smaller and produced an ash column to around 10,000 ft. Only very small pyroclastic flows were observed possibly moving down the upper reaches of Tuitts ghaut. No other pyroclastic flows are thought to have been formed by the explosion. Relatively strong winds carried most of the ash fallout from both of these explosions away from Montserrat towards the north east.

Seismic activity has been generally low, although there were a few hybrid earthquakes prior to the explosions and periods of tremor related to ash and steam venting for at least an hour after the explosions. Since that time, apart from a few rockfalls there have been very little seismic activity recorded on the seismic network.

Further explosions are expected during today and, although these will probably be similar in size to those experienced already, longer explosions fuelling more vigorous pyroclastic flows are a distinct possibility. No warning is expected before further events. All residents remaining in Frith, Old Towne and Salem are thus urged to move out as soon as possible. Residents are reminded that the flanks of the volcano and ghauts leading away from the volcano remain very dangerous and should not be entered

After an explosion, fallout can occur anywhere on the island. People should shelter in a strong building and wait for the fallout to end. If this is not possible then hard hats or other suitable protection should be worn. Avoid driving during or immediately after ashfall if at all possible. The roads are very wet this morning and drivers should be very careful as where there is ash still on the road, it is very slippery. 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