25 December, 2009

Volcanic eruption

Pyroclastic flows at Mayon volcano.

The Mayon volcano near Legazpi City, about 500km south-east of Manila, Philippines, erupted at dawn on Thursday. Thousands of evacuees are expected to spend Christmas in different evacuation centres after the country's most active volcano began spewing ash last week.

Mayon Volcano, also known as Mount Mayon, is an active stratovolcano in the province of Albay, in the Bicol Region, on the island of Luzon, in the Philippines. Known as the "perfect cone" because of its almost perfect conical shape, Mayon is situated 15 kilometres northwest of Legazpi City.

Over 9,000 families (44,394 people) have been evacuated by the Philippine government from the base of the volcano. No one is allowed to enter the 10 km danger zone, which is cordoned off by the Philippine military.

This led me to think of the active volcanoes in the Caribbean archipelago. Below is a list compiled after a brief search. There may be more. I’ve not listed any on the South or Central American mainland.

Volcano name/height/coordinate/last eruption year

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Soufriere         1220m         4003ft         13.33°N 61.18°W            1979

St Lucia
Qualibou         777m/2549ft         13.83°N 61.05°W          1766

Mount Liamuiga         1156m/3793ft         17.37°N 62.80°W         160
Nevis Peak            985m/3232ft         17.15°N 62.58°W         Holocene

Soufriere Hills         915m/3001ft         16.72°N 62.18°W         2009

La Grande Soufrière  1467m/4813ft           16.05°N 61.67°W              1977

Kick 'em Jenny         -168         -607         12.300°N 61.640°W         2001
Mount Saint Catherine         840m         /2,756ft         12.15°N 61.67°W         unknown

Morne aux Diables          861m         /2825ft          15.612°N 61.43°W         Holocene
Morne Diablotins         1430/4692ft         15.502°N 61.397°W         Holocene
Morne Plat Pays         940m/3084ft         15.255°N 61.341°W         1270
Morne Trois Pitons     1387m/4550ft         15.37°N 61.33°W              920
Morne Watt           1224m/4016ft         15.307°N 61.305°W         1997

Mount Pelée 1,397m  4,583ft   14°490N 61°100W   1929–1932

Regarded as the deadliest volcanic disaster of the 20th century, Pelée killed over 30,000 Martiniquans in 1902. The cloud of gas and solid matter extruded by the eruption incinerated the entire town of St. Pierre and all but two of its 28,000 inhabitants. The volcano spewed a smoke column continuously for 11 months after the event.

If (more likely when) any of these active volcanoes erupts, we will have to deal with an immediate influx of our Caribbean neighbours looking for real help. Do we have a plan?

1 comment:

  1. The Phillipine volcano has erupted then. I heard it here on your blog first. How powerful our earth is.


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