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The new La Soufrière volcanic dome taken on Thursday by a team of scientists from the UWI SRC, NEMO and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.

La Soufrière’s new lava dome in St Vincent continues to grow based on observations by scientists attached to the UWI Seismic Research Centre and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.

A helicopter-assisted aerial reconnaissance occurred on Friday by Professor Richard Robertson of the UWI SRC and Dr Adam Stinton of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. While conditions were not ideal, scientists had clear views mainly into the western parts of the crater.

New measurements indicate that the newly formed lava dome is now three quarters the height of the pre-existing 1979 dome within the crater.

The new dome continues to grow, now spreading laterally towards the east and west along the crater floor surrounding the 1979 dome.

Further gas emissions were observed outside of the new dome, along several cracks on the crater floor and areas of the 1979 dome.

The acidic gases have caused extensive damage to vegetation within the crater, mainly the eastern, southern, and western parts of the inner crater walls. The damage reported along the upper part of the southwestern crater rim has continued to extend downslope, escaping the crater rim slowly.

Monitoring efforts continue to intensify as a new seismic, and a continuous GPS monitoring station was installed on the volcano’s upper southern flank by a team led by Instrumentation Engineer Lloyd Lynch of the UWI SRC.

The St Vincent and the Grenadines National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) maintains the Orange level alert for La Soufrière. According to NEMO, the volcano continues to exude magma on the surface, and steam can still be observed from the Belmont Observatory. Persons living in areas close to the volcano should expect strong sulphur smells for several days to weeks, depending on wind direction changes.

NEMO is also reminding the public that no evacuation order or notice has been issued. The organization continues to appeal to the public to desist from visiting the La Soufrière Volcano, especially going into the crater, since doing so is extremely dangerous.