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Tsunami Activity suspends flights

Travel & news discussion about Aruba

Moderator: daka630

Tsunami Activity suspends flights

Postby KarenS » Tue May 23, 2006 7:11 am

From antiguasun.com: "Portions of the Caribbean Sea experienced tsunami type activity on Saturday with the collapse of the dome on the Langs Soufriere Volcano in neighbouring Montserrat.

Parts of Antigua’s southern coast in English Harbour and around the Jolly Harbour area were beaten with extraordinarily high swells, according to reports from the met office.

Director of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) Dr. Sue Loughlin told the Antigua Sun that Guadeloupe was, however, worst affected.

'A tsunami of about one metre impacted at least one of the beaches in Guadeloupe, from what we heard. But we haven’t received any reports of it causing any injury or any damage,' she explained.

A report from the Associated Press (AP) stated that international flights between Venezuela and Miami and to and from Aruba had to be cancelled because of the huge cloud of ash that rose into the sky.

'The decreased visibility over the Caribbean forced Venezuelan carrier Aeropostal to suspend its flights, Sunday, between Caracas and Miami,' the AP report stated.

The MVO was alerted to elevated activity on the volcano somewhere after six Saturday morning. Just over an hour later, activity further increased and intense pyroclastic flows were seen rushing down the eastern side of the volcano.

The increased activity, according to Dr. Loughlin, speaking to the SUN yesterday from her office at the observatory, was caused by the collapse of the lava dome.

'There was an explosion as well. So small stones fell across the southern part of Montserrat,' Dr. Loughlin reported.

By 9 a.m. most of the serious activity had subsided. There were no reports of injury.

But the entire dome, which has been rising since August last year, is now in the sea.

'The whole of the dome has gone. It’s about 90 million cubic metres of lava and most of that ended up in the sea off the eastern side of Montserrat.'

This collapse, however, was not the largest. In July 2003, a dome of 210 cubic metres fell from the volcano, but it wasn’t as sudden.

While the weekend collapse took place in the space of three hours, the one in 2003 ran over a period of two days.

'This one happened very quickly; in just a few hours, so really a very intense event yesterday (Saturday).'

Saturday’s activity has again given rise to fears that gripped the Caribbean region following the catastrophic tsunami that killed nearly a quarter million people in south east Asia in December 2004.

Dr. Loughlin, who has been working as a volcanologist in Montserrat since 1997, was asked to address this concern.

She noted that it is very likely that there will be another dome collapse but was not concerned that the effect would reach to the proportions of our worst fears.

She further explained that the region is now seeking to establish a tsunami early warning system, a project that is being co-ordinated through the Seismic Research Unit in Trinidad.

Many Montserratians left the island after the Soufriere Hills volcano erupted in 2005, laying waste to parts of the island as a result of lava flows and heavy ash cover. Parts of the island, however, remain habitable and many people have returned and are continuing their lives normally."
Karen for Caribbean-On-Line.com
KarenS
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