St. Vincent and the Grenadines residents have been warned that they may have to evacuate their homes within 24 hours as a volcano begins to spew ash from a newly formed dome after lying dormant for decades.
Authorities have issued an orange warning to the area, which affects more than 100,000 people as scientists assess the recent outbreak.
The orange alarm means the volcano can erupt less than 24 hours in advance. Residents nearby have been told that they may receive an evacuation notice.
A previous report by Reuters that an evacuation order had been issued was incorrect.
On Tuesday, officials warned of strong gas emissions, the formation of a new volcanic dome and changes to the crater lake on La Soufriere volcano.
Today the alert was raised to orange, with suggestions that the volcano could erupt within a day and guessing people from Fancy in the north of the island to Georgetown on the northeast coast that they may need to evacuate.
A team of scientists from Trinidad and Tobago were flown to the island today to assist those assessing the outbreak.
Some homeowners on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines have been told they may need to evacuate after a new volcanic dome (pictured) has formed at the base of the existing dome in the crater of La Soufriere volcano
The alarm for St. Vincent and the Grenadines was raised to orange after La Soufriere volcano spat out ash and formed a volcanic dome (picture)
A team of scientists from Trindad and Tobago, including a geologist, an instrument engineer and a technician, were flown to the island today to assist those assessing the eruption
A yellow warning was issued for La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent late on Tuesday. La Soufriere (pictured before the last eruption) is near the northern tip of the main island of St. Vincent
Aerial photographs showed that a small black lava dome with fresh magma had formed at the base of the existing dome in the crater of the La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent.
Fresh magma has found its way to the surface of the crater, although there have been no reports of volcanic earthquakes typically associated with the region.
The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center (UWISRC) said an exuberant eruption is taking place, with magma reaching the surface and gently oozing out instead of bursting through the rocks.
According to the organization, effusive eruptions generally occur when magma contains a relatively small amount of gas. Sticky lavas form domes compared to flowing lavas, which can move several kilometers from the vent. The lava from La Soufriere is not particularly fluid.
UWISRC also advised the public not to visit the volcano at this time.
A team of three from the organization, geologist Prof. Richard Robertson, instrumentation engineer Lloyd Lynch and engineer Ian Juman, came to the island this morning to provide scientific assistance.
When the team flew in aboard the Regional Security System aircraft, they tried to assess the outbreak for themselves before landing at Argyle International Airport.
At 4 p.m., a second aerial reconnaissance took place, which revealed that the newly formed dome continued to grow in size.
Aerial photographs taken during a reconnaissance showed that a large black dome formed as a result of an eruption of effusion
Fresh magma has found its way to the surface of the crater, although there are no reports of volcanic earthquakes typically associated with the region
The University of West Indies Seismic Research Center (UWISRC) said an exuberant eruption – with magma reaching the surface and gently oozing. Pictured: An aerial photo taken during an investigation showing the location of an outbreak (center right) that occurred in 1979
Several aerial reconnaissance surveys were conducted to monitor the area, and the last one, held at 4 p.m. local time, found that the dome was continuing to grow
A few days ago, the Island's National Emergency Management Organization released a document online to the public listing the symptoms to be expected at each alert level.
Orange alerts are triggered when there is high levels of seismicity or fumarolic activity, or both, and there is a chance that eruptions could occur with less than 24 hours notice.
In response, scientists continuously man the surveillance system and periodically inspect the potential vent areas.
Other measures include continuous soil deformation and hydrothermal monitoring, as well as daily assessment reports presented to civil authorities.
In the meantime, local authorities will begin coordinating an evacuation and organizing regular radio and television announcements to keep the public informed.
La Soufriere, located near the northern tip of the main island of St. Vincent, last erupted in 1979, and an earlier eruption in 1902 killed around 1,600 people.
The West Indies science team flew to the island aboard the Regional Security System aircraft and landed at Argyle International Airport
A team of three from the organization, geologist Prof. Richard Robertson, instrumentation engineer Lloyd Lynch and engineer Ian Juman, flew in to provide scientific assistance. Pictured: The authorities are preparing for a possible outbreak and organizing the information of the public
Scientists are constantly manning the surveillance system and regularly inspecting potential vent areas
That happened just before Martinique's mountain. Pelee broke out and destroyed the city of Saint-Pierre, killing more than 30,000 people.
Due to seismic activity beneath the mountain, a yellow alarm was also set off Tuesday for the island of Martinique, an overseas French territory.
It was the first alarm of its kind since the last volcanic eruption in 1932, Fabrice Fontaine with Martinique's volcanological and seismological observatory told The Associated Press.
While the eastern Caribbean is a long chain of active and extinct volcanoes, volcanologist Erik Klemetti of Denison University in Ohio said the activity at Mt. Pelee and La Soufriere are unrelated.
"It's not like a volcano erupts like others do," he said. "It falls into the category of chance."
He said the activity is evidence that magma lurks underground and seeps to the surface, although he added that scientists still don't have a very good understanding of how quickly this happens.
Martinique's mountain Pelee is now active again. In early December, officials in the French Caribbean issued a yellow alert about seismic activity under the mountain
The most active volcano in the eastern Caribbean in recent years was Soufriere Hills in Montserrat, which has erupted continuously since 1995, devastating the capital, Plymouth, and killing at least 19 people in 1997
"The answers are not entirely satisfactory," he said. "It is science that is still being researched."
Klemetti said the most active volcano in the eastern Caribbean in recent years has been Soufriere Hills in Montserrat, which has erupted continuously since 1995, devastating the capital, Plymouth, and killing at least 19 people in 1997.
17 of the 19 living volcanoes in the Eastern Caribbean are on 11 islands, with the remaining two located underwater near the island of Grenada, including one called Kick 'Em Jenny, which has been active in recent years.
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) messages