Warning issued by seismologist after increased activity at La Soufrière

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    (File Photo Credit: UWI Seismic Research Centre)

    St Vincent is on heightened alert following an increase in activity at the La Soufrière Volcano, and a warning that an explosive eruption may be imminent.

    La Soufrière has been erupting effusively since December, meaning lava has been steadily flowing out onto the ground.

    This morning however, there was a new series of tremors, as well as an increase in the steam/smoke coming from the volcano.

    At an emergency media briefing, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves asked Professor Richard Robertson of the UWI Seismic Research Centre, about a timeline on a possible eruption.

    According to Dr Robertson, it could be days, or even hours.

    Professor Robertson adds that while the possibility of an explosive eruption is elevated right now, there is also a chance that the volcano could continue to erupt effusively or become quiet again.

    Dr Gonsalves reportedly made a Stage 3 Declaration, which orders the relevant agencies to prepare for a possible eruption of the volcano.

    The next Stage is 4, which indicates that an explosive eruption is actually taking place.

    According to iWitness News in St Vincent, the PM also stated that no evacuation order had yet been given, with a declaration instead that there is a substantial prospect that a disaster will strike.

    This remains within the framework of an Orange Alert, which has been active since the effusive eruption began last year.

    Dr Gonsalves went on to assure: “And if the occasion arises within the next few hours or the next few days, that it becomes necessary and desirable for an evacuation order to be issued, then it will be issued and this is the stage where that declaration is made within the framework of the law”.

    La Soufrière last erupted explosively on April 13th 1979.