Hexbyte Glen Cove Thousands flee as volcano erupts on Caribbean island of St Vincent thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Thousands flee as volcano erupts on Caribbean island of St Vincent

Hexbyte Glen Cove

The 4,049-foot La Soufriere, pictured in January 2021, had not erupted in more than 40 years

A volcano that has been dormant for decades erupted Friday on Saint Vincent, darkening skies over the Caribbean island and forcing thousands of panicked locals to flee to safety.

The blast from La Soufriere, the highest peak in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, sent plumes of hot ash and smoke 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) into the air, the local emergency management agency said.

Video posted on the website news784.com showed a tower of ash being belched out and expanding into a ball shape as it rose upwards. No deaths or injuries have been reported.

“Please leave the red zone immediately. La Soufriere has erupted. Ash fall recorded as far as Argyle International Airport,” the National Emergency Management Organization said. The airport and volcano are at opposite ends of the 18-mile long island.

The 4,049-foot La Soufriere—French for “sulphur mine”—had not erupted since 1979 and its largest blow-up happened over a century ago, killing more than 1,000 people in 1902.

It had been rumbling for months before it finally blew.

It is now likely to keep erupting for days or weeks, scientists at the University of the West Indies, in Trinidad and Tobago, tweeted.

“Once there is one explosive eruption it is likely others can occur,” the university’s seismological research center said.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves started issuing evacuation orders late Thursday for residents in so-called red zones, home to some 16,000 people on the biggest island in the archipelago. The total population of the chain is about 100,000.

“Persons living in the ‘Red Zones’ are strongly advised to pack a quantity of personal items, secure your homes and animals; and be ready to be evacuated immediately,” police said in a statement after the eruption.

Zen Punnett, who lives on the island, said people panicked Thursday night as the evacuation orders came out but things were calmer Friday.

Map locating Saint Vincent’s La Soufriere volcano, which erupted April 9

“I can feel and hear rumbling here in the green safe zone. We can see a huge ball of smoke. Keeping calm as much as possible and praying,” Punnett said Friday.

Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises said in a press release they were sending two ships to assist the evacuation effort.

‘Scared out of their wits’

Gonsalves said two more ships from cruise liner company Carnival were also on their way.

Those evacuated would be taken to shelters elsewhere in the island chain or other Caribbean territories that have offered assistance, such as Barbados and Saint Lucia, according to local media.

Philmore Mullin, director of Antigua and Barbuda’s National Office of Disaster Services, told AFP the twin island nation was ready to receive evacuees from Saint Vincent.

He said between 12,000 and 15,000 people had already moved out of the red zones.

“I know for sure they will be scared out of their wits. The question is, what will happen after they move? Volcanoes don’t tell you what they are thinking,” said Mullin.

“If it continues to erupt for a long time it will be life-changing for them. And, depending on the type of eruption, they might not be able to get back home for years.”

The Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) said in a statement quoted by local media that all officers had been told to report for duty immediately.

“All members of the (RSVGPF) and its auxiliary forces who are currently on vacation leave are hereby informed that all leave has been canceled with immediate effect,” the release said.

Sirens sounded out on one side of the island of as traffic became gridlocked on the other in the rush to escape, local news portal Searchlight reported.



© 2021 AFP

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Thousands flee as volcano erupts on Caribbean island of St Vincent (2021, April 9)
retrieved 9 April 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-04-thousands-volcano-erupts-caribbean-island.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Icelandic volcano subsiding after first eruption in 900 years thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Icelandic volcano subsiding after first eruption in 900 years

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Lava flowing from the erupting Fagradalsfjall volcano

A volcano that spewed glowing red lava near Iceland’s capital Reykjavik after awakening for the first time in 900 years appeared to be subsiding on Saturday, posing no danger to people, experts said.

Streams of red lava bubbled and flowed out of a fissure in a valley in Geldingadalur, close to Mount Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes peninsula in southwestern Iceland.

As the lava flow slowed under rain showers on Saturday, a blue gas plume and a vapour cloud rose from the site, just 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the capital and near a popular tourist destination, the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.

The eruption occurred on Friday around 2045 GMT, lighting up the night sky with a crimson glow as hundreds of small earthquakes shook the area.

While Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport and the small fishing port of Grindavik are just a few kilometres away, the zone is uninhabited and the eruption did not present any danger to the public.

“The eruption is considered small at this stage and the volcanic activity has somewhat decreased since yesterday evening,” the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO), which monitors seismic activity, said in a statement on Saturday.

It said the “eruptive fissure” measured approximately 500 to 700 metres (1,640 to 2,300 feet).

The red shimmer from magma flowing out of a fissure in a valley in Geldingadalur

The lava area, it added, was less than one square kilometre (0.4 square mile), with small lava fountains.

Speaking to reporters, University of Iceland geophysicist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson described the valley as an “ideal” spot for the eruption, likening it to “a bathtub the lava can slowly leak into.”

IMO earthquake hazards coordinator Kristin Jonsdottir meanwhile said it was “very likely the eruption will last for the next few days”.

Friday’s eruption took place in the Krysuvik volcanic system, which does not have a central volcano, about five kilometres inland from the southern coast.

Sigurdur Kristmundsson, a 54-year-old Grindavik port official, told AFP that locals were exhilarated by the eruption.

“Nobody is in danger or anything like that. So I think people are excited and not afraid of it.”

Dramatic images showed streams of red lava bubbling up from the ground

Dormant for 900 years

Access to the area was initially blocked off but later opened to the public, though Iceland’s Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management stressed the several-hour hike from the nearest road was only recommended for those “used to being outdoors in difficult conditions.”

Gases from a volcanic eruption—especially sulphur dioxide—can be elevated in the immediate vicinity, and may pose a danger to health and even be fatal.

Gas pollution can also be carried by the wind.

“Currently gas pollution is not expected to cause much discomfort for people except close up to the source of the eruption. The gas emissions will be monitored closely,” the IMO said.

The Krysuvik system has been inactive for the past 900 years, according to the IMO, while the last eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula dates back almost 800 years and lasted about 30 years, from 1210 to 1240.

Iceland volcano erupts

But the region had been under increased surveillance for several weeks after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake was registered on February 24 near Mount Keilir on the outskirts of Reykjavik.

Since then more than 50,000 smaller tremors had been registered, and magma was detected just one kilometre under the Earth’s surface in recent days near Fagradalsfjall.

Geophysicist Gudmundsson said the eruption signalled a new period “which may last centuries with eruptions, possibly 10 years to 100 years apart.”

Land of fire and ice

Iceland has 32 volcanic systems currently considered active, the highest number in Europe. The country has had an eruption every five years on average.

The vast island near the Arctic Circle straddles the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a crack on the ocean floor separating the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.

Iceland has 32 volcanic systems currently considered active, the highest number in Europe

The shifting of these plates is in part responsible for Iceland’s intense volcanic activity.

The most recent eruption was at Holuhraun, beginning in August 2014 and ending in February 2015, in the Bardarbunga volcanic system in an uninhabited area in the centre of the island.

That eruption did not cause any major disruptions outside the immediate vicinity.

But in 2010, an eruption at the Eyjafjallajokull volcano sent huge clouds of smoke and ash into the atmosphere, disrupting air traffic for more than a week and cancelling more than 100,000 flights worldwide, which left some 10 million passengers stranded.



© 2021 AFP

Citation:
Icelandic volcano subsiding after first eruption in 900 years (2021, March 20)
retrieved 21 March 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-03-icelandic-volcano-erupts-night-sky.html

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part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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