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The Soufriere Hills Volcano

The Soufriere Hills volcano is a complex stratovolcano with many lava domes forming its summit on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. It became active in 1995, and has been active ever since. Its eruptions have rendered most of the island uninhabitable. It is 915 meters above sea level. The first eruption on July 18, 1995, caused about 2/3 of the people to evacuate the island.

Seismic shocks had been felt on 30 year intervals for most of the 20th Century however, the volcano was still considered inactive. It was only in 1995 when pyroclastic flows and mudflows began ocurring that it was decided to evacuate the capital, Plymouth. It was just in time as well because only a few weeks later, a pyroclastic flow covered the city in several meters of debris. But in 1997, 20 people were killed because of pyroclastic flows.

Ash from Soufriere Hills volcano in Montserrat. (photo by United States Geological Survey)

 

The volcano has been become one of the most closely monitored volcanoes.

 


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