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Museum Expeditions & Field Trips - 2004


MONTSERRAT - JUNE 2004

Volcano Close-up of slopes Plymouth

This small island, one of Britain's last remaining overseas territories, was aknowledged as a Caribbean paradise popular with tourists. Because no eruptions had ever been recorded, few of the islands 11,000 inhabitants were aware that the green rolling Soufriere Hills in the islands centre were actually the rim of a still active volcano.

A stratovolcano, the Soufriere Hills began erupting on July 18, 1995 with an initial small phreatic eruption producing minor ash that spread around the island and over the following weeks the island experienced intense seismic activity along with further venting of steam and ash.

In August 1997, the steam had given way to massive eruptions of magma, and the island's capital, Plymouth, became buried by pyroclastic flows of red-hot ash, gas and rock, killing 19 people. Subsequent eruptions buried much of the southern half of the island. Many islanders were evacuated to Britain, the United States and to other Caribbean islands, but almost 5,000 refused to leave and now live wholly in the northern "safe" part of Montserrat.

Stone Museum of Geology extends its grateful thanks to Miss Debbie Beale and Mr Tony Bidwell for the photographs and specimens that appear here.

Pumice Andesitic lava

For further information visit the Montserrat Government website and Observatory by clicking here.


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