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Low seismic activity at La Soufriere; PM says communities will be rebuilt

Published:Sunday | April 25, 2021 | 1:05 PMCMC
The La Soufrière volcano in St Vincent and the Grenadines began erupting on April 9 (file photo).

Seismic activity at the La Soufrière volcano in St Vincent has remained low since the tremor associated with the explosion and ash venting two days ago. 

Scientists monitoring the volcano say over the last 24 hours only a few long-period, hybrid and volcano-tectonic earthquakes have been recorded with no further tremors.

The Seismic Research Centre (SRC) at The University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine Campus said in its latest update that since the initial depressurisations (a decrease in pressure within a volcano caused by the release of magma, gases or fluids during an explosive event) following the April 9 explosions, there has been a decrease in the overall rates of horizontal and vertical movement.

“The volcano continues to erupt. Its pattern of seismic activity over the last few days is typical of the growth and destruction of lava domes. Explosions with accompanying ash fall, of similar or larger magnitude, can occur with little or no warning, the SRC said, adding that the volcano is at alert level Red.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has said that residents of northern St. Vincent, including communities north of the Rabacca Dry River, will be allowed to return to their homes, when the eruption of La Soufriere ends and the all-clear is given.

Speaking on state-owned NBC Radio, Gonsalves said there are persons who have said the communities in the Volcano Red Zone in the northeast, and Orange Zone communities in the northwest, should be abandoned and reserved for agriculture.

“As  far as I am concerned, as far as the ULP (Unity Labour Party) is concerned, north of the [Rabacca] Dry River, that’s the soul of this nation — Garifuna and Calinago and all what they represent. Similarly places like Rose Bank and Petit Bordel and Fitz Hughes and Chateaubelair with Garifuna people,” Gonsalves said.

The Garifuna people are a mixed African and indigenous people who are descendants of Black Caribs of St Vincent and the Grenadines. They speak their own language, Garifuna- an Arawakan language.

On April 9, after three months of effusive eruption, La Soufriere erupted explosively, 15 hours after an evacuation order was issued and just four days shy of the 42nd anniversary of its 1979 eruption.

Volcanologist, Professor Richard Robertson, the lead scientist monitoring the volcano, says that the eruption could last for up to a year.

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