Soufriere Hills from space

The latest eruption of Sourfriere was captured from space, and NASA has just released the MODIS picture of the volcano in action. The image (above and linked) was taken 2 days after the first explosion of this unanticipated and unexpected eruption - December 4. You definitely get the idea of how much of the island of Montserrat is taken up by the volcano itself (pretty much all of it). Not much else to report on Soufriere Hills beyond the update from MVO (via SI/USGS) for the end of last week:

On 3, 4, and 5 December small, relatively slow moving pyroclastic flows traveled no more than 3.2 km down the Gages valley. In periods between the events, near-continuous emissions of ash-laden steam were noted. The Hazard Level remained at 3.

So, beyond the lack of any precursory activity, sounds like eruption-as-usual on Montserrat.

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Just a note about the "unanticipated and unexpected" eruption of Soufriere - we were on vacation for the last two weeks of November on Antigua, just 20 miles across from Montserrat. From our resort you could clearly see the clouds of steam every day covering the lava dome and extending a kilometer or so high and off towards the horizon as well as what appeared from my binoculars (braced against a palm tree) to be minor ash eruptions. All of the locals were expecting an eruption, many of them taking pleasure in telling me how much the lava dome had grown during the previous year. Every day I hoped Soufriere would put on a show, but alas it waited until after we left.

By Malcolm Mawer (not verified) on 20 Jan 2009 #permalink