The lead scientist monitoring the La Soufriere volcano in St Vincent, Professor Richard Robertson, says an increase in earthquakes at the site could suggest that an explosive eruption could happen soon.
La Soufriere has been erupting effusively since late December, and a new dome has formed alongside the one left inside the crater after the 1979 eruption of the volcano.
The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) Wednesday warned residents of communities near to the volcano to heighten their preparedness in the event that it becomes necessary for them to evacuate at short notice.
NEMO said that scientists at the Belmont Observatory have noted a change in seismic activity associated with the ongoing eruption of the volcano. Robertson said that the scientists had always indicated that the volcano could continue effusing material for a long time, it could stop effusing material, or it could erupt effusively.
“And one of the things that will drive it to go explosive is fresh material coming in; new material to give it energy,” Robertson said, adding that the earthquakes which began on Tuesday could indicate that fresh magma is trying to make its way to the surface.
“So, this is the first indication that maybe this is happening. We have to track it to see if it is really indicative of that,” he further explained.
He said that the material that has oozed out of the volcano since December could have been here since the eruption of April 1979.
However, this week’s events suggest that new material could be making its way to the surface.