"After laying dormant since prehistoric times (pre 1632 for Montserrat), the Soufrière Hills Volcano in the southern part of the island began erupting on 18 July 1995 with a phreatic explosion (steam and ash) following a 3 year period of seismic (earthquake) activity which began in 1992. The first large event occurred in August 1995 blanketing Plymouth in a thick ash cloud which brought almost complete darkness for about 15 minutes. Shortly afterwards the first evacuation of southern Montserrat was initiated. Plymouth itself was finally abandoned the following year. It now lies buried under layers of volcanic debris deposited by pyroclastic activity and mudflows - each time it rains here in the Emerald Isle, a little more of the former capital disappears forever. 1997 is probably uppermost in people's minds when they recall the eruption to date, and saw pyroclastic flows and surges sweep down the north-eastern flanks of the volcano causing the abandonment of the W H Bramble Airport. By this time more than half of Montserrat's inhabitants had been moved away after their homes and businesses were destroyed and the island's tourism industry was also adversely affected. Since then an Exclusion Zone encompassing the Soufrière Hills Volcano has been in place and life has refocused to the north. "These are just words to most of us who didn't witness the devastation to this beautiful Emerald Island. On Thursday, August 2, 2012, the team went up to see the volcano in a helicopter and were able to see the infrastructure and land below the volcano - or whatever was left of it. The land was baron and covered with soot. The plethora of buildings including the newly built hospital, the government headquarters, churches, stores and homes were covered to the rooftops. It's difficult to articulate the emotion we all felt seeing the remains of this mass devastation.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Montserrat Hearts 2012 has many more posts for the readers to follow. There are countless stories and aspects of the trip that we want the world to hear about. But it's time to deal with the culprit - the Soufriere Hills volcano. SHORT HISTORY LESSON