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
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°49′0″N 61°10′0″W 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?