Residents of St Vincent and the Grenadines have been told to evacuate their homes as volcanoes begin to spew ash after lying dormant for decades.
Authorities have issued an alert for the area, affecting more than 100,000 people, as scientists assess the latest eruption.
On Tuesday officials warned of strong gas emissions, formation of a new volcanic dome and changes to its crater lake for La Soufriere volcano.
Today the alert level was raised to an orange, with suggestions the volcano could erupt within a day and advising people to evacuate.
The decision to increase the alert level comes as it started spewing ash and a new volcanic dome formed,
The alert for St Vincent and the Grenadines has been raised to orange after the La Soufriere volcano began spewing ash and a volcanic dome formed (pictured)
A yellow warning was issued late Tuesday for La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent. La Soufriere, (pictured) located near the northern tip of the main island of St. Vincent
La Soufriere, located near the northern tip of the main island of St. Vincent, last erupted in 1979, and a previous eruption in 1902 killed some 1,600 people.
That occurred shortly before Martinique’s Mt. Pelee erupted and destroyed the town of Saint-Pierre, killing more than 30,000 people.
A yellow alert was also raised for the island of Martinique, an overseas French territory, on Tuesday due to seismic activity under the mountain.
It was the first alert of its kind issued since the volcano last erupted in 1932, Fabrice Fontaine, with Martinique´s Volcanological and Seismological Observatory, told The Associated Press.
Martinique’s Mt. Pelee too is now active once again. In early December, officials in the French Caribbean territory issued a yellow alert due to seismic activity under the mountain
While the eastern Caribbean is one long chain of active and extinct volcanoes, volcanologist Erik Klemetti, at Denison University in Ohio, said the activity at Mt. Pelee and La Soufriere are not related.
‘It’s not like one volcano starts erupting that others will,’ he said. ‘It falls into the category of coincidence.’
He said the activity is evidence that magma is lurking underground and percolating toward the surface, although he added that scientists still don’t have a very good understanding of what controls how quickly that happens.
The most active volcano in recent years in the eastern Caribbean has been Soufriere Hills in Montserrat, which has erupted continuously since 1995, destroying the capital of Plymouth and killing at least 19 people in 1997
‘The answers are not entirely satisfying,’ he said. ‘It´s science that´s still being researched.’
Klemetti said the most active volcano in recent years in the eastern Caribbean has been Soufriere Hills in Montserrat, which has erupted continuously since 1995, destroying the capital of Plymouth and killing at least 19 people in 1997.
Seventeen of the eastern Caribbean´s 19 live volcanoes are located on 11 islands, with the remaining two are underwater near the island of Grenada, including one called Kick `Em Jenny that has been active in recent years.