• April 14, 2024

Volcano On Caribbean Island Of St. Vincent Could Experience Larger Eruption : NPR

A photo of La Soufrière erupting in St. Vincent on Friday. The explosion could send ashes as far as Jamaica and South America. Zen Punnett / AFP via Getty Images Hide caption

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Zen Punnett / AFP via Getty Images

A photo of La Soufrière erupting in St. Vincent on Friday. The explosion could send ashes as far as Jamaica and South America.

Zen Punnett / AFP via Getty Images

La Soufrière, the highest mountain on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent, exploded Friday morningThousands had to evacuate as ash and smoke filled the sky.

And a bigger breakout could be on the way.

Richard Robertson, a geologist at the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center, said the volcano is in its explosive eruption phase. The initial explosion of dust and debris that St. Vincent saw on Friday is likely just the beginning.

“The explosive eruption has started and it is possible that you will have more explosions like this one,” he said during a press conference. “The first isn’t necessarily the worst, the first bang isn’t necessarily the biggest bang this volcano will make.”

Ralph Gonsalves, the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, ordered residents on the north side of the island to evacuate from the danger zone of the red volcano on Thursday. The Associated Press Around 16,000 people reportedly had to leave their homes.

Soot and ash fell through the night and covered the island’s neighborhoods and streets on Saturday morning. Robertson said the ash is expected to fall for the next few days, possibly weeks.

The volcano’s dome, which is about 300 meters long and more than 30 meters wide, was destroyed in the eruption on Friday, catapulting 460 million cubic feet of debris into the atmosphere. The ashes could reach as far as Jamaica and parts of South America. Said Robertson.

The last time La Soufrière had a major outbreak was in 1979, which lasted several weeks. That outbreak, Robertson said, “will most likely be a bigger outbreak than it was in 1979.” He added, “We don’t know how much material is down there that wants to come out.”

The fine ash particles, which are difficult to clean up, pose a respiratory risk, especially for people with underlying problems. Robertson recommended that people who chose to stay on the island do their best to clean up the ash before it settles or gets wet.

Faced with more potential eruptions, Robertson advised residents to move as far south as possible. La Soufrière could be heard rumbling and grumbling all night, he said, as magma moved inside the volcano.

Jack

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