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Increased activity at Soufrière Hills 27 December 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Caribbean, eruptions, Soufrière Hills.
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Christmas has brought an upswing in activity at Soufrière Hills volcano, Montserrat. During the week 19-26 December, reports the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, there has been lava extrusion on the north, west and south-west flanks of the Soufrière Hills lava dome, with rockfalls and pyroclastic flows to the west and south-west. On 24 December a large pyroclastic flow reached the former capital of Plymouth, and possibly reached as far as the sea. There has been significant seismic activity, the majority associated with the growth of the dome: the MVO notes that the great increase in the number of rockfalls recorded during this week (up 80% compared to the previous week) suggests a more rapid rate of lava extrusion at the dome.

The renewed activity at Soufrière Hills associated with the rapid growth of an unstable dome represents a significant potential hazard for Montserrat, and the hazard level was accordingly raised to 4 on 22 December. ‘If lava extrusion continues at the present rate’, warns the MVO, ‘more and perhaps larger pyroclastic flows should be expected’.

Global Volcanism Program: Soufrière Hills – information about Soufrière Hills volcano (1600-05=)
Montserrat Volcano Observatory – detailed and up-to-date information from the MVO
Soufrière Hills Volcano – wonderful pictures and copious information/analysis from Photovolcanica (warning: all on one page, so takes ages to load)
Eruptions Blog: Soufrière Hills – Erik Klemetti’s Eruptions blog has excellent coverage of recent activity at Soufrière Hills

The Volcanism Blog