Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Morning Update
Report for the period 16:00 20 August
to 07:00 21 August 1996

Activity at the Soufriere Hills volcano during the night was at about the same slightly elevated level as seen during the past two days. Small- to moderate-sized rock avalanches, mainly from the eastern flanks of the growing lava dome, continued to dominate the picture. The period of near-continuous rockfall and small pyroclastic flow activity which started during the last part of the previous reporting period ended around 17:00 yesterday. Another period of near-continuous small rockfall occurrence was observed from midnight to around 04:00. Most of the larger-sized rockfalls resulted in ash clouds and probably ashfalls in some areas of western and central Montserrat. Further rockfalls and pyroclastic flows and associated ash clouds should be expected. Given the very light winds, ashfalls may affect any community in western and central Montserrat.

Visibility during the early morning from the Observatory was poor. However, occasional views of the dome were obtainable from Bramble Airport. These revealed no major changes in the dome shape compared to recent views. Near-continuous small rockfall activity channelized in the gully excavated just north of Castle Peak and resulting in continuous generation of small amounts of ash was observed.

Extreme care should be exercised when driving in areas affected by recent ashfalls. Please do not forget to wear dust masks.

The Tar River Valley and surrounding areas are extremely hazardous and should not be entered under any circumstances.

Montserrat Volcano Observatory