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Soufrière Hills images at NASA Earth Observatory: before and after the dome collapse 24 February 2010

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Soufriere Hills, Montserrat. Left: 17 March 2007. Right: 21 February 2010. (NASA images)

The NASA Earth Observatory has published two satellite images of Montserrat, one showing the island in March 2007 before the Soufrière Hills lava dome collapse of 11 February 2010, and one captured ten days after that event. The two images make a fascinating comparison: a much-reduced side-by-side version is shown above. The March 2007 image is on the left, the February 2010 image on the right. A great deal of fresh ashfall can be seen, and the extensive pyroclastic flow deposits north-east of the volcano (extending the coastline by 650 metres according to MVO reports) are clearly visible.

Soufriere Hills volcano resumes activity – NASA Earth Observatory, 21 February 2010

For all our Soufrière Hills coverage: Soufrière Hills « The Volcanism Blog.

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More details of the Soufrière Hills lava dome collapse of 11 February 2010 22 February 2010

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The Montserrat Volcano Observatory has released more details of the dome collapse that took place at Soufrière Hills volcano on 11 February 2010. The pyroclastic flows generated by the collapse felled many trees and levelled buildings (in evacuated areas) to the north-east of the volcano, and extended the coastline by 650 m, and some of the flow deposits have a thickness of 15 m. The collapse has left a deep collapse scar on the northern side of the summit, and the MVO reports that ‘It is currently unclear whether there is a new dome growing inside the crater’.

The Soufrière Hills activity bulletin issued by MVO for 12-19 February gives more detail on some aspects of the 11 February event. The collapse scar on the volcano’s northern flank is reported to be approximately 300 m wide, and there is a separate crater of similar diameter at the summit of the lava dome. A temperature of 470 degrees centigrade was measured at one place on the pyroclastic flow deposits on 15 February, and the MVO notes that ‘these deposits will retain such high temperatures for months’. As for new dome growth, ‘It is at present unclear whether there is any new dome growth within the crater. However FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared) measurements on the afternoon of the 17 February gave a hydrochloric acid /sulphur dioxide ratio of 0.76, which is consistent with quite slow extrusion of lava on that day’.

Photographs of the dome collapse and aftermath can be found at the MVO’s excellent Flickr pages.

For all our Soufrière Hills coverage: Soufrière Hills « The Volcanism Blog.

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The Soufrière Hills dome collapse of 11 February 2010 from space 15 February 2010

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UPDATE 16 February 2010. The image of Soufrière Hills discussed below is today’s Image of the Day at the NASA Earth Observatory.

Many thanks to Robert Simmon of the NASA Earth Observatory who forwarded this image (other versions at various pixel sizes available at NASA’s Rapid Response site) of the Lesser Antilles captured by the MODIS aboard NASA’s Terra satellite at 17:20 UTC on 11 February 2010 – just in time to catch the dome collapse event of that day at Soufrière Hills volcano on Montserrat. A cropped and labelled version of the image is below.

Soufriere Hills, 11 February 2010 (NASA Aqua MODIS image)

The dense, ashy plume thrown up by the dome collapse is clearly visible, piling up over Montserrat and trending to the east. The event began at about 17:00 UTC according to Washington VAAC, so when this image was captured the plume had not yet made its way far across the ocean. Subsequently ashfall from this event occurred to the south-east, in Guadeloupe and Dominica, and in Martinique, St Lucia and Barbados. The ash caused extensive disruption including flight cancellations. Ash from earlier activity can be seen floating on the surface of the sea to the north and east of Montserrat, producing a faint grey-green stain.

For all our Soufrière Hills coverage: Soufrière Hills « The Volcanism Blog.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Soufrière Hills – information about Soufrière Hills volcano (1600-05=)
Montserrat Volcano Observatory – the MVO’s information-rich website

The Volcanism Blog

Soufrière Hills dome collapse of 11 February 2010 – ‘largest event since May 2006′ 14 February 2010

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The dome collapse that took place at Soufrière Hills on 11 February 2010 ‘was undoubtedly the largest event to have occurred at Soufrière Hills volcano since May 2006′,* reports the Montserrat Volcano Observatory in its latest update. The pyroclastic flows that ran north and north-east from the volcano reached 300-400 metres out to sea, and the village of Harris, which is situated to the north of the volcano, was ‘extensively impacted by pyroclastic flows’, with many buildings ‘razed to their foundations’. Extensive ashfall was produced by this event: ‘Ashfall has occurred across the south-eastern Caribbean with extensive fallout occurring in Guadeloupe whereas Dominica, Martinique, St Lucia and Barbados received a light dusting’. The volcano is now quiet: MVO reports that seismicity is currently low, restricted to signals produced by rockfalls within the scar left by the dome collapse.

The plume from this event reached more than 15 km altitude: Washington VAAC confirmed ash at FL500 (50,000 feet/15,240 metres). Flights between Dominica, Guadeloupe, Antigua, Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis and St Maarten were disrupted on 12/13 February, although some have since resumed. In Guadeloupe schools were closed and Pointe-à-Pitre airport was shut down because of ashfall on 11 February, but re-opened late on 13 February; the damage Soufrière Hills may be doing to Guadeloupe’s tourist-dependent economy is causing some alarm in the territory. Heavy ashfall in Dominica has caused public health concerns, although the island’s health minister has sought to strike a reassuring note: ‘This is not a panic situation. If you don’t have a mask, you are not going to die’.

A dramatic video of the 11 February event, with commentary from MVO director Paul Cole, can be seen at YouTube (H/T Boris Behncke via Eruptions). Many images of this and previous events at Soufriere Hills can be found at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory’s Flickr pages, and Richard Roscoe’s very extensive Soufriere Hills coverage at Photovolcanica (a wonderful site) has been updated with new text and pictures to take account of the most recent events, including the 11 February 2010 dome collapse.

* On 20 May 2006 a major dome collapse took place at Soufrière Hills which removed almost all the 90 million cubic metres of the then-existing dome. The resulting ash plume reached 17 km altitude.

For all our Soufrière Hills coverage: Soufrière Hills « The Volcanism Blog.

News
Volcano erupts on Caribbean island – Press Association, 11 February 2010
Montserrat volcano shoots ash 9 miles into sky – Associated Press, 11 February 2010
Ash clouds could remain over Dominica for better part of the day – Dominica News Online, 12 February 2010
‘Do not panic’, health minister advises public – Dominica News Online, 12 February 2010
Eruption de la Soufrière en Guadeloupe: toutes les écoles fermées vendredi – AFP, 12 February 2010
Pointe-à-Pitre: l’aéroport reste fermé – France 2, 13 February 2010
L’aéroport de Pointe-à-Pitre émerge des cendres – TF1 News, 13 February 2010
Ash from Montserrat volcano disrupts Caribbean flights – AFP, 13 February 2010
Montserrat battles cloud of volcanic ash – AFP, 13 February 2010
LIAT resumes services to Dominica – Dominica News Online, 13 February 2010
Les cendres paralysent l’île – Sud Ouest, 14 February 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Soufrière Hills – information about Soufrière Hills volcano (1600-05=)
Montserrat Volcano Observatory – lots of news and information on the MVO website, rather badly presented

The Volcanism Blog

Large partial dome collapse at Soufrière Hills: 15 km ash plume (updated) 11 February 2010

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Quick note: there was a large partial dome collapse at Soufrière Hills volcano this afternoon, beginning at 12:35 local time and lasting 55 minutes. Pyroclastic flows descended to the north-east and reached the sea, and the resulting ash plume reached 50,000 feet a.s.l. (15,240 metres). Report available at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory website.

UPDATE. Caribbean airline LIAT has suspended flights in and out of Antigua because of ash clouds from Soufrière Hills. Washington VAAC reports ‘large eruption at 1700Z’ (i.e. 17:00 GMT) with ash emissions reaching FL500 (50,000 feet or 15,240 metres), confirming the earlier pilot reports quoted by MVO. The Soufrière Hills webcam (which can be seen on the MVO front page) seems to show a distinct change in the topography of the summit as a result of the collapse. Well, as of 22:44 GMT the webcam image is completely dark – it may be very ashy there, or there is a technical fault, or the camera has been knocked out by the volcano’s activity.

FURTHER UPDATE. The Washington Post, quoting an AP bulletin, says that 20 people were evacuated during this event, which involved (according to MVO) the largest-scale ejection of material from the volcano for four years. MVO’s Paul Coles reports that 10-15% of the lava dome has been removed by this collapse.

[Thanks to Chance Metz.]

For all our Soufrière Hills coverage: Soufrière Hills « The Volcanism Blog.

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Soufrière Hills: spectacular images at Stromboli Online 9 February 2010

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Over at the wonderful volcanism site Stromboli Online there is extensive photo documentation of recent activity at Soufrière Hills volcano in Montserrat. The images, which show ash venting, pyroclastic flows, rockfalls and more at Soufrière Hills, form a spectacular and informative visual record of one of the most dramatic and interesting of current eruptions.

Stromboli Online: Soufrière Hills

UPDATE. More sensational Soufrière Hills imagery – our friends at Activolcans have posted a comment below recommending Thorsten Boeckel’s site, where there are more great photographs of activity on Montserrat (and elsewhere).

For all our Soufrière Hills coverage: Soufrière Hills « The Volcanism Blog.

The Volcanism Blog

Vulcanian eruption at Soufrière Hills 8 February 2010

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Soufrière Hills continues to produce a great deal of activity. The Montserrat Volcano Observatory reports that a significant vulcanian eruption occurred at Soufrière Hills volcano on Montserrat on Friday 5 February 2010. The event began at 13:49 local time and last about 7 minutes, sending pyroclastic flows down the volcano’s flanks to the west that swept across the site of the former capital of Plymouth and reached some 500 m out to sea. The resulting plume is reported to have reached an altitude of around 6,700 metres (21,000 feet). This was clearly a spectacular event, but fortunately not too disruptive as the easterly winds ensured that ashfall was limited to uninhabited areas.

UPDATE 9 February 2010. According to Dominica News Online, the pyroclastic flow reached 500 miles out to sea. Now that really would be something. The MVO is pretty clear, though: it was a mere 500 metres. [H/T: Erik Klemetti at Eruptions.]

For all our Soufrière Hills coverage: Soufrière Hills « The Volcanism Blog.

News
No inhabited areas affected in Montserrat after volcano explosion – Caribbean Net News, 8 February 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Soufrière Hills – information about Soufrière Hills volcano (1600-05=)
Montserrat Volcano Observatory – comprehensive news and information from the MVO

The Volcanism Blog

New Soufrière Hills image at the NASA Earth Observatory 5 February 2010

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Soufriere Hills volcano, Montserrat, 31 January 2010 (NASA Aqua MODIS image)

NASA’s Earth Observatory has been following the Soufrière Hills eruption with a great collection of fascinating images since the volcano saw a resurgence of activity in the autumn of 2009. The latest image is a crystal-clear shot from the MODIS aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite, captured on 31 January 2010 (detail above), showing the light-grey ash cloud produced by the active Soufrière Hills lava dome swirling around Montserrat to the north and west. Recent activity has seen most of the island affected by ashfall, according to reports from the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.

Soufriere Hills volcano continues activity – NASA Earth Observatory, 2 February 2010

For all our Soufrière Hills coverage: Soufrière Hills « The Volcanism Blog.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Soufrière Hills – information about Soufrière Hills volcano (1600-05=)
Montserrat Volcano Observatory – comprehensive news and information from the MVO

The Volcanism Blog

NASA Earth Observatory: Soufrière Hills valleys and debris deposits 8 January 2010

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Soufriere Hills volcano resumes activity (NASA EO-1 image, 29 December 2009)

Image of the day for 7 January 2010 at the NASA Earth Observatory is this view of Soufrière Hills volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat, captured by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite on 29 December 2009.

The image clearly shows how the deposits from the debris flows radiating out from the summit of Soufrière Hills have descended the major drainage channels in the flanks of the volcano and filled them with volcanic deposits. North is to the right in this image; the prominent debris fan in the middle of the southern coast (on the left) is formed by volcanic material deposited by pyroclastic flows that have followed the channel of the White River Valley.

Soufriere Hills volcano resumes activity – NASA Earth Observatory, 7 January 2010

(To go off-topic for a moment, the NASA Earth Observatory image of the day for today is a Terra MODIS view of the green and pleasant land in which I happen to live.)

For all our Soufrière Hills coverage: Soufrière Hills « The Volcanism Blog.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Soufrière Hills – information about Soufrière Hills volcano (1600-05=)
Montserrat Volcano Observatory – comprehensive news and information from the MVO

The Volcanism Blog

Soufrière Hills ashfall causes problems 21 December 2009

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Soufrière Hills volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat has been vigorously active recently, with the growing lava dome producing collapses, explosions, pyroclastic flows and considerable ash emissions.

Since 19 December south-easterly winds have caused ashfall in the inhabited north-west of the island. On 20 December the Montserrat Volcano Observatory reported ‘heavy ashfall in many inhabited areas of northwestern Montserrat on Saturday 19 December’ and forecast that ashfall would continue through Sunday and until at least the early hours of Monday.

According to reports on the Caribbean Hurricane Network, ash from Soufrière Hills reached islands north-west of Montserrat including St Maarten, Saba and Nevis. Caribbean airline LIAT has issued a warning that air travel between St Kitts, Nevis, St Maarten, Anguilla and Guadeloupe may be affected by Soufrière Hills ashfall.

[Thanks go to Barb Beier.]

For all our Soufrière Hills coverage: Soufrière Hills « The Volcanism Blog.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Soufrière Hills – information about Soufrière Hills volcano (1600-05=)
Montserrat Volcano Observatory – comprehensive news and information from the MVO

The Volcanism Blog

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