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Soufrière Hills

Not to be confused with La Soufrière (volcano), La Grande Soufrière, or Qualibou.

The Soufrière Hills are an active, complex stratovolcano with many lava domes forming its summit on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. After a long period of dormancy, the Soufrière Hills volcano became active in 1995 and has continued to erupt ever since. Its eruptions have rendered more than half of Montserrat uninhabitable, destroying the capital city, Plymouth, and causing widespread evacuations: about two-thirds of the population have left the island. Chances Peak in the Soufrière Hills was the highest summit on Montserrat until the mid-1990s, but it has since been eclipsed by various rising and falling volcanic domes during the recent volcanic activity.

2009 ash and steam plume, Soufrière Hills Volcano. Grey deposits that include pyroclastic flows and volcanic mudflows (lahars) are visible extending from the volcano toward the coastline. NASA ISS photo, 11 October 2009, a view from the northeast looking southwest
Relief Map
Volcanic ash (tuff) from Montserrat

The volcano is andesitic in nature, and the current pattern of activity includes periods of lava dome growth, punctuated by brief episodes of dome collapse which result in pyroclastic flows, ash venting, and explosive eruption. The volcano is monitored by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. Volcanic gas emissions from this volcano are measured by a Multi-Component Gas Analyzer System, which detects pre-eruptive degassing of rising magmas, improving prediction of volcanic activity.

The Centre Hills in the central part of the island and the Silver Hills in the north are older volcanic massifs related to the subduction zone. There are three main parts of the island: the central zone, subduction and exclusion.

Contents

Many volcanoes in the Caribbean are named Soufrière (French: "sulphur outlet"). These include La Soufrière or Soufrière Saint Vincent on the island of Saint Vincent, and La Grande Soufrière on Guadeloupe.

  • 2460 BCE (± 70 years): An explosive eruption formed the crater at the top of the volcano.
  • 1550 CE (± 50 years): Between 25 and 65 million cubic metres of lava erupted at Castle Peak.

Seismic activity had occurred in 1897–1898, 1933–1937, and again in 1966–1967, but the eruption that began on 18 July 1995 was the first since the turn of the 20th century in Montserrat. When pyroclastic flows and mudflows began occurring regularly, the capital, Plymouth, was evacuated, and a few weeks later a pyroclastic flow covered the city in several metres of debris.

The first phreatic explosion in this new period of activity occurred on 21 August 1995, and such activity lasted for 18 weeks until it caused an andesitic lava dome formation. This was initially confined by a sector-collapse scar. This period lasted for another 60 weeks, after which there were major dome collapses and two periods of explosive volcanic eruptions and fountain-collapse pyroclastic flows. The explosion blanketed Plymouth, 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) away, in a thick layer of ash and darkened the sky almost completely.

Earthquakes continued to occur in three epicentre zones: beneath the Soufrière Hills volcano, in the ridge running to the northeast, and beneath St George's Hill, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) to the northwest. A large eruption on 25 June 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 also collapsed, although it began partially to recover within fifteen years.

The governments of the United Kingdom and Montserrat led the aid effort, including a £41 million package provided to the Montserrat population; however, riots followed as the people protested that the British Government was not doing enough for aid relief. The riots followed a £10 million aid offer by International Development Secretary Clare Short, prompting the resignation of Bertrand Osborne, then Chief Minister of Montserrat, after allegations that he was too pro-British and had not demanded a better offer.

The British destroyer HMS Liverpool took a major role in evacuating Montserrat's population to other islands, including Antigua and Barbuda who warned they would not be able to cope with many more refugees. About 7,000 people, or two-thirds of the population, left Montserrat; 4,000 went to the United Kingdom.

Destroyed settlements

The following is a list of Montserrat settlements destroyed by the eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano:

  • Bethel
  • Bramble
  • Dyers
  • Fairfield
  • Farm
  • Farrell's
  • Farrell's Yard
  • Galway's Estate
  • Harris
  • Hermitage
  • Long Ground
  • Morris's
  • Plymouth – the capital of Montserrat, initially evacuated in August 1995; abandoned and destroyed in 1997
  • Saint Patrick's
  • Robuscus Mt
  • Soufrière
  • Streatham

In addition, the W. H. Bramble Airport was destroyed.

Abandoned settlements

The following is a list of Montserrat settlements abandoned after the eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano. Most of these settlements were badly affected or inundated by pyroclastic flows between June and December 1997.

Evacuated

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False colour satellite image of Soufrière Hills before and after a 2010 partial dome collapse. Red areas are living vegetation, grey areas are covered in volcanic debris

On 24 December 2006, streaks of red from the pyroclastic flows became visible. On 8 January 2007, an evacuation order was issued for areas in the Lower Belham Valley, affecting an additional 100 people.

At 11:27 pm local time on Monday 28 July 2008, an eruption began without any precursory activity. Pyroclastic flow lobes reached Plymouth. These involved juvenile material originating in the collapse of the eruption column. In addition, 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 12,000 m (40,000 ft) 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 Observatory 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.

The 9 October 2008 issue of the journal Science suggested that two interconnected magma chambers lie beneath the surface of the volcano on Montserrat – one six kilometres below the surface and the other 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) below the surface. The journal also showed a link between surface behaviour and the size of the deeper magma chamber.

On 5 February 2010, a vulcanian explosion simultaneously propelled pyroclastic flows down several sides of the mountain, and on 11 February 2010, a partial collapse of the lava dome sent large ash clouds over sections of several nearby islands, including Guadeloupe and Antigua. Inhabited areas of Montserrat itself received very little ash accumulation during either event.


  • 22 September 1997 10:46 a.m. eruption

  • Ash plume from Soufrière Hills, 10 March 2004

  • The volcano in 2011

  • Debris in Belham River Valley in 2011

  • A close-up of the volcano in 2012

  • Close-up of the volcano in 2012

  • Pyroclastic flow deposits in 2012

  • The side of the volcano in 2012, showing the path taken by pyroclastic flows

  1. Height before the 1995 eruption was 915 m. The eruptions since 1995 have formed a lava dome that has increased the height to 1050 m (2015 estimate): see The CIA World Factbook on Montserrat.
  2. "Soufrière Hills". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved15 February 2016.
  3. http://webra.cas.sc.edu/hvri/feature/jun2014_dom.aspx The 1997 Soufriere Hills Eruption
  4. "Montserrat". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  5. Christopher, Thomas; Edmonds, Marie; Humphreys, Madeleine C. S.; Herd, Richard A. (2010). "Volcanic gas emissions from Soufrière Hills Volcano, Monserrat 1995-2009, with implications for mafic magma supply and degassing, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 37"(PDF). Geophysical Research Letters. 37 (19): n/a. doi:10.1029/2009GL041325.
  6. "Volcanic History of Montserrat". Montserrat Volcano Observatory. 10 July 2009. Archived from the original on 11 February 2011. Retrieved17 December 2010.
  7. "Global Volcanism Program: Eruptive history".
  8. "Soufrière Hills". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution.
  9. B. Peter Kokelaar (2002). The eruption of Soufrière Hills volcano, Montserrat, from 1995 to 1999. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-86239-098-0.
  10. Vi︠a︡cheslav Moiseevich Zobin (2003). "Soufrière Hills volcano, Monserrat (6.2.3.)". Introduction to volcanic seismology. 6. pp. 104–7. ISBN 978-0-444-51340-3.
  11. "BBC country profile: Montserrat". BBC News. 22 September 2009. Retrieved8 March 2008.
  12. "Montserrat tourism arrivals up 22 percent in first seven months of 2010 | Caribbean news, Entertainment, Fashion, Politics, Business, Sports…". www.thewestindiannews.com. Retrieved18 May 2015.
  13. "UK citizenship for island outposts". The Guardian. London. 18 March 1999. Retrieved23 May 2010.
  14. "Montserrat Chief Minister Resigns As People Reject Aid Offer". Politics '97. BBC. RetrievedNovember 1, 2010.
  15. "Montserrat evacuation remembered". BBC. 12 September 2005. Retrieved19 November 2010.
  16. Elsworth, D; Mattioli, G; Taron, J; Voight, B; Herd, R (October 2008). "Implications of Magma Transfer Between Multiple Reservoirs on Eruption Cycling". Science. 322 (5899): 246–248. Bibcode:2008Sci...322..246E. doi:10.1126/science.1161297. PMID 18845752. S2CID 206514402. Retrieved2008-10-09.
  17. "Multiple Magma Reservoirs Affect Volcanic Eruption Cycles", Newswise, 6 October 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
  18. "Montserrat Volcano Observatory". Montserratvolcanoobservatory.info. Retrieved27 June 2014.
Wikimedia Commons has media related toSoufrière Hills.

Soufrière Hills
Soufriere Hills Language Watch Edit 160 160 Redirected from Soufriere Hills volcano Not to be confused with La Soufriere volcano La Grande Soufriere or Qualibou The Soufriere Hills are an active complex stratovolcano with many lava domes forming its summit on the Caribbean island of Montserrat After a long period of dormancy the Soufriere Hills volcano became active in 1995 and has continued to erupt ever since Its eruptions have rendered more than half of Montserrat uninhabitable destroying the capital city Plymouth and causing widespread evacuations about two thirds of the population have left the island 3 Chances Peak in the Soufriere Hills was the highest summit on Montserrat until the mid 1990s but it has since been eclipsed by various rising and falling volcanic domes during the recent volcanic activity 4 Soufriere HillsSoufriere Hills before July 2007 Highest pointElevation1 050 m 3 440 ft 1 Prominence1 050 m 3 440 ft 1 Coordinates16 43 N 62 11 W 16 717 N 62 183 W 16 717 62 183 Coordinates 16 43 N 62 11 W 16 717 N 62 183 W 16 717 62 183GeographySoufriere HillsMontserrat CaribbeanCountry MontserratGeologyMountain typeStratovolcanoVolcanic arc beltLesser Antilles Volcanic ArcLast eruption2013 2 2009 ash and steam plume Soufriere Hills Volcano Grey deposits that include pyroclastic flows and volcanic mudflows lahars are visible extending from the volcano toward the coastline NASA ISS photo 11 October 2009 a view from the northeast looking southwest Relief Map Volcanic ash tuff from Montserrat The volcano is andesitic in nature and the current pattern of activity includes periods of lava dome growth punctuated by brief episodes of dome collapse which result in pyroclastic flows ash venting and explosive eruption The volcano is monitored by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory Volcanic gas emissions from this volcano are measured by a Multi Component Gas Analyzer System which detects pre eruptive degassing of rising magmas improving prediction of volcanic activity 5 The Centre Hills in the central part of the island and the Silver Hills in the north are older volcanic massifs related to the subduction zone There are three main parts of the island the central zone subduction and exclusion 6 Contents 1 Toponymy 2 Early history 3 1995 1999 eruption 3 1 Destroyed settlements 3 2 Abandoned settlements 3 2 1 Evacuated 4 Activity since 1999 5 Gallery 6 See also 7 References 8 External linksToponymy EditMany volcanoes in the Caribbean are named Soufriere French sulphur outlet These include La Soufriere or Soufriere Saint Vincent on the island of Saint Vincent and La Grande Soufriere on Guadeloupe Early history Edit2460 BCE 70 years An explosive eruption formed the crater at the top of the volcano 7 1550 CE 50 years Between 25 and 65 million cubic metres of lava erupted at Castle Peak 7 1995 1999 eruption EditSeismic activity had occurred in 1897 1898 1933 1937 and again in 1966 1967 but the eruption that began on 18 July 1995 was the first since the turn of the 20th century in Montserrat 8 When pyroclastic flows and mudflows began occurring regularly the capital Plymouth was evacuated and a few weeks later a pyroclastic flow covered the city in several metres of debris The first phreatic explosion in this new period of activity occurred on 21 August 1995 and such activity lasted for 18 weeks until it caused an andesitic lava dome formation This was initially confined by a sector collapse scar This period lasted for another 60 weeks after which there were major dome collapses and two periods of explosive volcanic eruptions and fountain collapse pyroclastic flows 9 The explosion blanketed Plymouth 6 kilometres 3 7 mi away in a thick layer of ash and darkened the sky almost completely Earthquakes continued to occur in three epicentre zones beneath the Soufriere Hills volcano in the ridge running to the northeast and beneath St George s Hill about 5 kilometres 3 1 mi to the northwest 10 A large eruption on 25 June 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 11 Montserrat s tourist industry also collapsed although it began partially to recover within fifteen years 12 The governments of the United Kingdom and Montserrat led the aid effort including a 41 million package provided to the Montserrat population however riots followed as the people protested that the British Government was not doing enough for aid relief 13 The riots followed a 10 million aid offer by International Development Secretary Clare Short prompting the resignation of Bertrand Osborne then Chief Minister of Montserrat after allegations that he was too pro British and had not demanded a better offer 14 The British destroyer HMS Liverpool took a major role in evacuating Montserrat s population to other islands including Antigua and Barbuda who warned they would not be able to cope with many more refugees 14 About 7 000 people or two thirds of the population left Montserrat 4 000 went to the United Kingdom 15 Destroyed settlements Edit The following is a list of Montserrat settlements destroyed by the eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano Bethel Bramble Dyers Fairfield Farm Farrell s Farrell s Yard Galway s Estate Harris Hermitage Long Ground Morris s Plymouth the capital of Montserrat initially evacuated in August 1995 abandoned and destroyed in 1997 Saint Patrick s Robuscus Mt Soufriere Streatham In addition the W H Bramble Airport was destroyed Abandoned settlements Edit The following is a list of Montserrat settlements abandoned after the eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano Most of these settlements were badly affected or inundated by pyroclastic flows between June and December 1997 Evacuated Edit Plymouth Montserrat Amersham Cork Hill Gages Kinsale Lee s Molyneux North Olveston since re settled Old Towne since re settled Saint George s Hill Salem since re settled Weekes Woodlands since re settled Activity since 1999 EditThis section needs additional citations for verification Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed Find sources Soufriere Hills news newspapers books scholar JSTOR July 2017 Learn how and when to remove this template message False colour satellite image of Soufriere Hills before and after a 2010 partial dome collapse Red areas are living vegetation grey areas are covered in volcanic debris On 24 December 2006 streaks of red from the pyroclastic flows became visible On 8 January 2007 an evacuation order was issued for areas in the Lower Belham Valley affecting an additional 100 people At 11 27 pm local time on Monday 28 July 2008 an eruption began without any precursory activity Pyroclastic flow lobes reached Plymouth These involved juvenile material originating in the collapse of the eruption column In addition 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 12 000 m 40 000 ft 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 Observatory 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 The 9 October 2008 issue of the journal Science suggested that two interconnected magma chambers lie beneath the surface of the volcano on Montserrat one six kilometres below the surface and the other 12 kilometres 7 5 mi below the surface The journal also showed a link between surface behaviour and the size of the deeper magma chamber 16 17 On 5 February 2010 a vulcanian explosion simultaneously propelled pyroclastic flows down several sides of the mountain and on 11 February 2010 a partial collapse of the lava dome sent large ash clouds over sections of several nearby islands including Guadeloupe and Antigua Inhabited areas of Montserrat itself received very little ash accumulation during either event 18 Gallery Edit 22 September 1997 10 46 a m eruption Ash plume from Soufriere Hills 10 March 2004 The volcano in 2011 Debris in Belham River Valley in 2011 A close up of the volcano in 2012 Close up of the volcano in 2012 Pyroclastic flow deposits in 2012 The side of the volcano in 2012 showing the path taken by pyroclastic flowsSee also EditList of volcanoes in Montserrat List of Seconds From Disaster episodesReferences Edit a b Height before the 1995 eruption was 915 m The eruptions since 1995 have formed a lava dome that has increased the height to 1050 m 2015 estimate see The CIA World Factbook on Montserrat Soufriere Hills Global Volcanism Program Smithsonian Institution Retrieved 15 February 2016 http webra cas sc edu hvri feature jun2014 dom aspx The 1997 Soufriere Hills Eruption Montserrat Encyclopedia Britannica Christopher Thomas Edmonds Marie Humphreys Madeleine C S Herd Richard A 2010 Volcanic gas emissions from Soufriere Hills Volcano Monserrat 1995 2009 with implications for mafic magma supply and degassing Geophysical Research Letters Vol 37 PDF Geophysical Research Letters 37 19 n a doi 10 1029 2009GL041325 Volcanic History of Montserrat Montserrat Volcano Observatory 10 July 2009 Archived from the original on 11 February 2011 Retrieved 17 December 2010 a b Global Volcanism Program Eruptive history Soufriere Hills Global Volcanism Program Smithsonian Institution B Peter Kokelaar 2002 The eruption of Soufriere Hills volcano Montserrat from 1995 to 1999 p 1 ISBN 978 1 86239 098 0 Vi a cheslav Moiseevich Zobin 2003 Soufriere Hills volcano Monserrat 6 2 3 Introduction to volcanic seismology 6 pp 104 7 ISBN 978 0 444 51340 3 BBC country profile Montserrat BBC News 22 September 2009 Retrieved 8 March 2008 Montserrat tourism arrivals up 22 percent in first seven months of 2010 Caribbean news Entertainment Fashion Politics Business Sports www thewestindiannews com Retrieved 18 May 2015 UK citizenship for island outposts The Guardian London 18 March 1999 Retrieved 23 May 2010 a b Montserrat Chief Minister Resigns As People Reject Aid Offer Politics 97 BBC Retrieved November 1 2010 Montserrat evacuation remembered BBC 12 September 2005 Retrieved 19 November 2010 Elsworth D Mattioli G Taron J Voight B Herd R October 2008 Implications of Magma Transfer Between Multiple Reservoirs on Eruption Cycling Science 322 5899 246 248 Bibcode 2008Sci 322 246E doi 10 1126 science 1161297 PMID 18845752 S2CID 206514402 Retrieved 2008 10 09 Multiple Magma Reservoirs Affect Volcanic Eruption Cycles Newswise 6 October 2008 Retrieved 9 October 2008 Montserrat Volcano Observatory Montserratvolcanoobservatory info Retrieved 27 June 2014 External links EditWikimedia Commons has media related to Soufriere Hills Satellite imagery of 11 February 2010 eruption Montserrat Volcano Observatory MVO Current monitoring of the Soufriere Hills Volcano in Montserrat USGS Info on Soufriere Hills Volcano 2009 activity at Soufriere Hills Volcano from NASA Earth Observatory Smithsonian Institution s Global Volcanism Program Soufriere Hills Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Soufriere Hills amp oldid 1039789806, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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