Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Morning Report
Report for the period 6 pm 17 October
to 7 am 18 October 1997

Two further explosions have occurred at the Soufriere Hills volcano overnight, the first at 11:18 last night, the second at 06.58 this morning. Last nights explosion generated a a steam rich ash plume which rose rapidly to at least 15,000ft. There were pyroclastic flows down Tuitt's Ghaut and Gages valley, there may also have been a small flow in Tyers Ghaut but this has yet to be confirmed by an observation flight today. There was very little wind and the cloud drifted slowly northwards before dissipating.

The second explosion occurred at 6:58 this morning. This generated pyroclastic flows in Gages which reached beyond Lovers Lane, there may also have been flows in Tuitt's Ghaut and White River although this has yet to be confirmed by an observation flight. This ash cloud reached at least 17,000ft and was quite steamy. Due to the still conditions the upper part of the cloud drifted only slightly northwards, the lower part of the cloud drifted to the west. Inhabited parts of the island have not been affected by fallout. There has been vigorous ash and steam venting since the explosion.

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