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

Posted by admin in activity reports, Caribbean, eruptions, Soufrière Hills.
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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

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