Dome collapse has minimal effect

BRADES, Montserrat (February 11, 2010) – Dr. Paul Cole, Director of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, reported that at 12:35pm 11th February 2010, a series of pyroclastic flows occurred on the northern flanks of the Soufriere Hills Volcano. The MVO Director said the flows were probably caused by a partial dome collapse.

The majority of flows travelled away from the inhabited areas to the Northeast with initial flows reaching the sea at the abandoned W.H. Bramble airport.

Dr. Cole’s said the intensity later increased and about half and hour from the start of the event, flows encroached into the top of Tyers' Ghaut.

MVO Director said the event lasted 55 minutes and reached up to 40,000 ft causing periodic thunder and lightning.

This prompted a recommendation by MVO to sound the siren “evacuate” alert message for residents of zone B ( Isles Bay, Belham, Water Works, parts of Old Towne and lower Happy Hill).
Zone B residents are allowed day-time entry when volcanic activity permits.

“We were very fortunate that it is occurred in the northeast side of the volcano and wind direction was in our favor,” explained Dr. Cole. He further said that dome collapses normally go in one direction only and this is what happened on Thursday February 11, 2010.

The new John A. Osborne Airport was temporarily closed because of the ash and persons were encouraged to take the evening ferry to Antigua if they have a delayed flight.
All schools, government offices and business were unaffected and remained open throughout the event.

The hazard level remains at four.