Soufriere Hills might not be done with the dome just yet
I write the Eruptions blog on Big Think. I've been mesmerized with volcanoes (and geology) all my life. It helps that part of my family comes from the shadow of Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia, where I could see first hand the deadly effects of volcanic eruptions. Since then, I've taken a bit of a winding path to become a volcanologist. I started as a history major at Williams College, almost went into radio, but ended up migrating to geology, including an undergraduate thesis on Vinalhaven Island, Maine. I followed this up by changing coast to get my Ph.D. from Oregon State University. Then I ran a MC-ICP-MS lab at University of Washington for a spell (and wrote for an indie rock website). I spent three years as a postdoctoral scholar at University of California - Davis studying the inner workings of magmatic systems. I am now an assistant professor at Denison University and have projects in New Zealand, Chile and Oregon.
I am fascinated by volcanoes, their eruptions and how those eruptions interact with the people who live around the volcanoes. I started this blog after getting frustrated with the news reports of volcanic eruptions. Most of them get the information wrong and/or are just sensationalistic. I will try to summarize eruptions as they occur, translate some of the volcanic processes that are happening and comment on the reports themselves.
And no matter what people tell you, I definitely do not have a cat named Tephra. (OK, I do).
You can find out more about my research by visiting my website. If you have any comments, questions or information, feel free to contact me at eruptionsblog at gmail dot com.
After nearly a year and a half of little lava dome growth at Soufriere Hills in the West Indies, this past July 26th, the volcano erupted new dome material. Why do I remind us of this, you ask? Well, the Scientific Advisory Committee at Montserrat feel that the dome growth might be restarting in earnest:
Since August, any new supply of lava has been minimal. Thus while there is evidence that the eighteen-month long pause in lava dome growth may be coming to an end, it has not happened yet.
The most troubling event, in their minds, is the new activity at the Gages Wall vent, which means that new dome growth might be possible further west into the Gages Valley (marked green on the map below. The upshot? Plymouth will be put into much greater danger of pyroclastic flows produced by dome collapses. Most of the pyroclastic flows travel to the north and south of Soufriere Hills' summit, so a change in the dome to focus down the Gages Valley would change the hazard prediction game quite a bit at Soufriere Hills.
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