La Soufriere volcano (FILE)
CASTRIES, St Lucia – The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) says the discovery of a new vent at the Soufriere volcano, southwest of here, is no cause for alarm.
NEMO Director, Velda Joseph told journalists the new vent was discovered about two weeks ago at the world’s only “drive-in volcano”.
“There is no cause for alarm with the system in Soufriere pertinent to that new vent that was discovered,” she said, adding that it was not a case where the volcano is about the erupt, as the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) at the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) has indicated that there are other factors to be considered.
The SRC is the official source of information for earthquakes and volcanoes in the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean and Joseph said people were concerned that the new vent was a sign of activity within the Soufriere volcano because ashes were emitted.
According to the NEMO Director, a report of the new vent was made directly to the SRC and that the head of the centre, Dr Richard Robertson, has indicated that it was not a phreatic explosion but a “venting”.
A phreatic eruption is defined as a steam eruption without lava ejection.
Joseph quoted Roberston, who held a workshop yesterday at the NEMO headquarters, as saying that the occurrence was not unusual since at times volcano vents are blocked and emissions go through other vents.
The Soufriere volcano is considered to be dormant, and its last eruption occurred in the late 18th century. (CMC)