Information on the Soufriere Hills Volcano

Information on the Soufriere Hills Volcano
The Soufriere Hills volcano, located on the island of Montserrat, rumbled to life in 1995 with an eruption of ash and steam that caused the eventual abandonment of the city of Plymouth. The volcano is still active and is very closely monitored.

History

The Soufriere Hills volcano remained dormant until its first eruption in 1995 covered the island with steam and ash, triggering a large evacuation. In 1997, there was a larger eruption with mudflows and pyroclastic activity, causing the abandonment of Plymouth and the W.H. Bramble Airport.

Exclusion Zone

An exclusion zone has been established, blocking the entire southeastern portion of the island. It also includes part of the ocean.

Population

Even though two-thirds of the population around the volcano have relocated, the residents have gathered on the northern part of the island. Tourism continues to thrive.

Volcano Viewing

Visitors can view this active volcano from a safe distance at several vantage points on the island, including Jack Boy Hill, Garibaldi Hill and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.

Aftermath

Called the "modern day Pompeii," Plymouth is half buried in volcanic matter. The former capital city looks like a lunar landscape, full of deep canyons and large boulders. The city is part of an exclusion zone, and people are not allowed to access it directly.

Article Written By Toni Rakestraw

Toni Rakestraw began writing and editing professionally in 1996. She has had articles published in magazines such as "The Mother is Me," "Organic Birth" and "Midwifery Today." She has recently completed the editing program at the Department of Agriculture's Graduate School.

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