Rumbling Volcanoes: Eastern Caribbean Raises Alerts


Volcanoes that have been quiet for decades have started rumbling to life in the eastern Caribbean. Rumbling volcanoes are rare. This has prompted officials to issue alerts in Martinique, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines as scientists rush into study activity they say hasn’t been observed in years.

La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines was the most recent warning issued. The area is a chain of islands with a population of more than 100,000 people.

Officials reported that they noticed tremors, strong gas emissions, and other activities. The disaster management agency in the Caribbean relayed what scientists noticed – an eruption within the crater.

Disaster Warning

The government warned those who lived near the volcano to prepare to move out of the area if it became necessary. An orange alert would mean that residents have less than 24 hours to leave the area.

It has been such a long time since the rumbling volcanoes last erupted. For instance, La Soufriere, located near the Northern tip of the main island of St. Vincent, erupted last 1979. A previous eruption killed about 1,600 people.

It happened shortly before Martinique’s Mt. Pelee erupted and destroyed the town of Saint-Pierre. It killed over 30,000 people.

Mt. Pelee is also now active once again. Early in December, officials in the territory issued a yellow alert when they discovered seismic activity under the mountain. It was the first of its kind since the last time the volcano erupted in 1932. Fabrice Fontaine, a member of the Seismological Observatory, confirmed this fact.


Chain of Active and Extinct Volcanoes

Meanwhile, the eastern Caribbean is one chain of active and extinct volcanoes. However, the activity at Mt. Pelee and La Soufriere are not related. Erik Klementi, a volcanologist at Denison University Ohio, said: “It’s not automatic that when one volcano erupts, others would follow. Rather, it is a matter of coincidence.”

According to him, the activity shows magma lurking underground and moving toward the surface. This indicates that the volcano is still active and remains a threat.

In recent years in the eastern Caribbean, the most active volcano was the one in Soufriere Hills in Montserrat. It has erupted continuously since 1995, destroying the capital of Plymouth. It had also killed 19 people in 1997.

17 of the 19 live rumbling volcanoes in the eastern Caribbean are located on 11 islands. The two others are underwater near the island of Grenada. These include “Kick ‘Em Jenny,” which has become active in recent years.

It is a highly active submarine volcano towards the north of Grenada. Volcanic activity was last noticed on this island in July 2015. Ships have been banned from sailing close to this island because its emits cause a sinking hazard.

Active Volcanoes in the Caribbean

Volcanoes are the building blocks for many Caribbean islands. The Eastern portion of the Caribbean Islands exists on a plane. Underneath the Caribbean plate, there are suitable conditions for magma to be produced. This rises to the surface, where it could erupt like a volcano.

19 rumbling volcanoes are possible to erupt again in the Eastern Caribbean islands. These natural wonders are on islands as far north as Hispanola and Grenada in the south.

Lava Dome

In the same vein, a research center reported an observation of a new lava dome growing on the edge of an old one. The old dome had been in place since 1979. An eruption of the volcano comes with lava oozing together with the emission of gases. The last eruption happened some 41 years ago when a series of explosive eruptions replaced an existing dome.


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