Soufrière Hills volcano (French "Sulphur" Hills) is an active complex stratovolcano with many lava domes forming its
summit on the Caribbean island of Montserrat.
After a long period of dormancy
it became active in 1995
, and has continued to erupt ever since.
eruptions have rendered more than half of Montserrat uninhabitable,
destroying the capital city, Plymouth, and causing widespread evacuations: about two
thirds of the population left the island.
had occurred in 1897–1898, 1933–1937, and again in 1966–1967, but
the eruption that began on July 18, 1995 was the first since the
17th century. When pyroclastic
and mudflows began occurring regularly, Plymouth was
evacuated, and a few weeks later a pyroclastic flow covered the
city in several metres of debris. A large eruption on June 25, 1997
resulted in the deaths of nineteen people. The island's airport was
directly in the path of the main pyroclastic flow and was
completely destroyed. Montserrat's tourist industry was also
destroyed. However, it is now regenerating. The governments of the
Montserrat led the aid effort, including a £41 million package
provided to the people of Montserrat; however, riots followed as
the people protested that the British Government was not doing
enough to aid relief.
The volcano is andesitic
in nature and the
current pattern of activity includes periods of dome
growth, punctuated by brief episodes of dome
collapse which result in pyroclastic flows, ash venting, and
explosive eruption. On December 24, 2006, streaks of red from the
On January 8, 2007, an evacuation
was issued for areas in the Lower Belham Valley,
impacting an additional 100 people.
Most devastating eruption was at Soufriere Hills Volcano starting
at 11:27 pm local time on Monday 28 July 2008 without any
precursory activity. Pyroclastic Flow lobes reached Plymouth. These
involved juvenile material originating from collapse of the
eruption column. Further, a small part of the eastern side of the
lava dome collapsed generating a pyroclastic flow in Tar River
Valley. Several large explosions were registered, with the largest
at approximately 11:38 pm. The height of the ash column was
estimated at 12 kilometres (40,000feet) above sea level.
The volcano has become one of the most closely monitored volcanoes
in the world since its eruption began, with the Montserrat Volcano
taking detailed measurements and reporting on its activity to the
government and population of Montserrat. The observatory is
operated by the British Geological Survey under contract to the
Government of Montserrat.
Results: in the October 9, 2008 issue of the journal Science
suggest that two
interconnected magma chambers lie beneath the surface of the
volcano on Montserrat – one six kilometers below the surface and
the other at 12 kilometers below the surface. They also show a link
between surface behavior and the size of the deeper magma
Soufrière Hills is also the namesake of the Jimmy Buffett
Image:soufriere hills ash.jpg|
Ash Plume from Soufrière Hills, March 10, 2004.
Image:Montserrat Salem Eruption.jpg|
September 22, 1997 10:46 AM Eruption of the Sufriere Hills
volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat.
Photo by Gary Mark
Image:Destroyed Airport Montserrat.JPG|
The airport destroyed by the eruption of The Soufrière
Image:SoufriereHillsVolcano.jpg|The volcano erupting.
- UK citizenship for island outposts | The Guardian |
- Multiple Magma Reservoirs Affect Volcanic Eruption
Cycles Newswise, Retrieved on October 9, 2008.
- Jimmy Buffett "Live in Anguilla" CD/DVD.