January 5, 2007 in Montserrat

Volcanic Activity in Montserrat

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While in Montserrat, I had dreams about living there again. However, with continued volcanic erruption, I’m not sure that dream will ever be realized.

Jan. 4, 2007, 3:28AM
Volcano forces evacuations in Montserrat
By BENNETTE ROACH Associated Press Writer
© 2007 The Associated Press
OLVESTON, Montserrat — Hundreds of people living at the base of Montserrat’s Soufriere Hills volcano evacuated as a lava dome grew to dangerous levels in the British Caribbean island.
Scientists say that the dome could crumble and send blistering gas and volcanic debris down the slopes of the volcano, potentially destroying homes in the low-lying Belham Valley.
“Residents in these areas are advised not to panic and to start preparations for moving to safe area,” Chief Minister Lowell Lewis said after the first siren sounded Wednesday.
The volcanic dome had been building rapidly and has topped the highest part of the 3,000-foot volcano, which coughs up ash and bursts its lava cap every few months.
Scientists at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory said some pyroclastic flows already have been observed but that they are at a safe distance. However, the observatory warned that the pyroclastic flows could escalate significantly.
The Soufriere Hills volcano sprang to life in 1995, and more than half the territory’s 12,000 inhabitants moved away. An eruption in 1997 buried much of the south, including the capital of Plymouth, and killed 19 people.
Southern Montserrat is now an “exclusion zone,” and the island’s 5,000 residents now live in the north.
On the Net:
Montserrat Volcano Observatory: http://www.mvo.ms.

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