Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Morning Report
Report for the period 4 pm 16 October
to 7 am 17 October 1997

Three further explosions have occurred at the Soufriere Hills volcano overnight, the first at 19:48 last night, the second at 23:19 last night, and the third at 04:01 this morning. Both of The first explosion produced an ash and steam columns up to about 15,000 feet high, with ash blown to the north-east by the winds. Pyroclastic flow activity during these explosion appeared to be mainly limited to the Tuitt's Ghaut area, although no reconnaissance has yet been undertaken to assess the full extent of flows. Due to cloud cover and poor visibility there was no good visuals on the ash cloud height or direction for the last two events, or the extent of pyroclastic flows as a result, although an observation team estimated the ash column height for the 04:01 event to be over 10,000 feet. There were no reports of ash fall in the safe zone.

Seismic activity has again been generally low, with only some small rockfall signals and a few hybrid earthquakes occurring prior to both the explosions. No volcano tectonic earthquakes were recorded.

Further explosions during the day are anticipated, although the interval between explosions is quite variable at the moment so it is difficult to know when the next one will be. Explosions could be bigger and thus more dangerous than they have been so far. 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 wearing of ash masks is recommended in ashy conditions. Everyone is advised to keep listening to Radio Montserrat for information on the activity.

Montserrat Volcano Observatory