St. Vincent Volcano Eruption: What We Know About the Caribbean Disaster – The Wall Street Journal

The La Soufrière volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent began a series of explosive eruptions on April 9, sending clouds of hot ash some 20,000 feet into the air, blanketing much of the island in ash and causing water and electricity outages.

The latest and biggest eruption so far took place early on Monday, April 12, when the volcano sent deadly clouds of hot gas, ash and stones down the mountainsides, according to Richard Robertson, professor of geology at the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre.

“I suspect that the buildings and the structures that are on the mountain are destroyed, damaged, mashed up,” said Mr. Robertson in an online interview with St. Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. “I shudder to think if any living creatures were on that mountain. Because anything that was there, man, animal, anything…they are gone.”

So far, there are no reports of deaths or injuries. Some 16,000 residents near the volcano were evacuated a day before the eruptions began, as scientists grew concerned about growing activity on the volcano, which killed an estimated 1,600 people during a violent 1902 eruption. But an unknown number of residents have declined to be moved, according to island officials.

The explosions at the 3,864 foot volcano could continue for days or weeks, according to the UWI Seismic Research Centre.