Earthquakes are still occurring at St Vincent’s La Soufriere volcano months after its eruption.
Professor of Geology at University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre Richard Robertson says;
“Since the explosions stopped, we’ve continued to have a few events here and there—so we still have earthquakes, not of anywhere on the scale of what we had before, but you get one or two events every couple months, we are still having more frequent than that, they’re usually minimal”.
Professor Robertson said that this activity is what is to be expected since the system is in the process of settling back down, now that the eruption has ceased.
He said the main activity is still focused at the summit, where you still have a lot of steaming going on due to hot rocks.
“So up at the top summit and close to the summit, the landscape is still damaged, fractured and unstable, and physically, when you see it, you’ll see that there is something that happened recently.”
La Soufrière, a stratovolcano on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, began an effusive eruption on 27 December 2020. On 9 April 2021, there was an explosive eruption.
The first explosive eruption sent ash 32,000 feet into the air on 9 April. Five explosive eruptions occurred over the next three days, including one captured on multiple spectrums by a U.S. weather satellite.
The last time La Soufriere erupted in 1979, the eruptions continued for more than two weeks, and in 1902 the eruptions lasted for more than six months. Between April 9 and 20, the University of West Indies Seismic Research Center recorded at least 30 “explosive events.”
More than 23,400 people were evacuated from the affected area, though some chose to disregard the order and stay inside the danger zone.
The World Bank approved $50 million in emergency funding through a 40-year no-interest grant to help St. Vincent cover the immediate needs resulting from this other disaster on top of additional financing arranged because of COVID-19.
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) made a $250,000 grant in July 2021 to GER3 to provide critical recovery services to highly vulnerable and severely affected communities in St. Vincent following the volcanic eruption.
Ernesto is a senior journalist with the St. Vincent Times. Having worked in the media for 16 years, he focuses on local and international issues. He has written for the New York Times and reported for the BBC during the La Soufriere eruptions of 2021.