Tracking the Soufrière volcano threats by satellite

A volcano in St. Vincent, an island in the Caribbean, exploded after 42 years

The La Soufriere volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent erupted yesterday after decades of inactivity, spewing plumes of ash and smoke & forcing thousands  to evacuate
The La Soufriere volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent erupted yesterday after decades of inactivity, spewing plumes of ash and smoke & forcing thousands to evacuate (European Union, Copernicus Sentinel 3)

The La Soufrière volcano has been dormant for 42 years but satellites captured the eruption of clouds and gasses that blasted miles high.

The volcano spewed ash across the island of St. Vincent all weekend, but the biggest explosive eruption happened around 4 a.m. Monday. That caused a volcanic dome collapse.

This huge explosion blew open parts of the dome where hot magma had been trapped. A high-density mix of hot lava blocks, pumice, ash and volcanic gas (called a pyroclastic flow) has been reported moving down the volcano’s south and southwest flanks.

“It’s destroying everything in its path,” Erouscilla Joseph, director of the University of the West Indies’ Seismic Research Center, told The Associated Press. “Anybody who would have not heeded the evacuation, they need to get out immediately.”

The ash fallout around the downwind island of Barbados prompted Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, to close retail businesses Monday. The airport there will be closed until Wednesday.

Sulfur dioxide mixed in with smoke and ash can be toxic if inhaled. Forecast models show the trajectory of those gasses flowing east across Barbados and into the middle of the Atlantic.

Sulfur dioxide in red can block some of the sunlight from reaching the Earth and cool the earth possibly temporary reducing hurricane activity.

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