The activity at the volcano today has been dominated by swarms of hybrid earthquakes and rockfall signals.
Excellent observations of the 22 October dome were made this afternoon and confirmed that it is continuing to grow rapidly although perhaps not at the rate observed in the first few days. The dome is characterised by several small, stubby spines and has a relatively flat upper surface. Measurements made today indicate that the upper surface of the new dome is 912m asl. The front NE face of the new dome is very steep and unstable. Several small rockfalls were observed being generated from the new dome today and material travelled into the upper reaches of Tuitts Ghaut. This rockfall activity is forming a talus of deposits at the head of Tuitts Ghaut. It is almost certain that as the dome continues to grow pyroclastic flows will be generated, these are most likely to travel down Tuitt's Ghaut. Collapses from older dome material could, however, also occur in any of the ghauts around the volcano.
Seismicity has been moderate today with at least three hybrid earthquake swarms. The first one occurred between 4:30 and 7.30 last night, the second swarm between 12:20 and 4.30 in the early hours of this morning and the third swarm occurred between 07:30 and 9:00 this morning. Overall between 4pm yesterday and 4pm today there have been 277 hybrids, 46 long period earthquakes, and 61 rockfalls. This is a general increase in the number of earthquakes since yesterday.
Friths, Old Towne and Salem are not safe with activity in its current state. Anyone remaining in these areas is strongly urged to move out of the exclusion zone. Ash levels in inhabited areas are currently low and do not present a health risk. Ghauts leading away from the volcano are especially dangerous because of the possibility of hot mudflows travelling down the valleys after heavy rainfall in higher regions. Stay tuned to Radio Montserrat for further information.