Volcano Destruction

Ash rises from the La Soufrière volcano

What happened in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines?
La Soufrière volcano, located on the island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, erupted in early April 2021. The explosive eruptions sent massive plumes of ash into the air. Volcanic eruptions can cause many problems. People who live near volcanoes need to be quickly evacuated from hazard zones. Hazard zones are areas close to volcanoes that can be covered in fast-moving volcanic ash, lava droplets, hot gasses, and boulders.

Did people know the volcano would erupt?
The residents of St. Vincent were warned La Soufrière volcano might erupt and had time to evacuate the hazard zone. Volcanologists are scientists who study how and why volcanoes erupt. They monitor active volcanoes and predict when a volcano might erupt. Volcanologists collect data about past eruptions, volcanic activity, earthquakes, and gas emissions to forecast an eruption.

How are communities affected by volcanic eruptions?
Volcanic eruptions can also cause a humanitarian crisis. People are displaced from their homes and suffer significant damage to their communities. Volcanic ash contaminates sources of freshwater, limiting people’s access to drinking water. It also effects people’s access to electricity, food, and other crucial supplies. Water is being brought to St. Vincent from nearby Caribbean nations. Organizations such as the United Nations (U.N.) also provide disaster relief.

What Do You Think? Would you like to be a volcanologist? Why?

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Photo Credit: (t)Orvil Samuel/AP Images, (b)Orvil Samuel/AP Images