Volcanic activity “overdue”
Like Barbados, authorities in neighbouring Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines huddled in closed-door meetings as reports surfaced this morning that seismic activity at the Kick ‘em Jenny volcano had escalated, triggering fear among residents in those two countries.
The Trinidad-based Seismic Research Centre of the University of the West Indies dispatched a team to Grenada to beef up its monitoring network as the activity continued. The undersea volcano is located five miles north of Grenada.
In an update this evening from Kingstown where he is attending an unrelated workshop, Director of the Seismic Centre Dr Richard Robertson confirmed there was an “eruption” of the Kick ‘em Jenny volcano in the wee hours of this morning, and that activity which started since July 11, had continued to increase.
Dismissing suggestions that it was related to ongoing tremors in Barbados, he assured there was no need to panic, pointing out that it followed the usual pattern of activity and was in fact overdue.
“The activity at Kick ‘em Jenny is following similar patterns where you have increased seismicity followed by some sort of eruptive activity. The most common thing it does after is go back quiet again until the next time it happens.
“Since 1935 Kick ‘em Jenny has an episode like this every 10 years, and the last time it had one it was in 2001, so we were expecting in a sense that something would happen in the next few years. In fact it is a bit overdue.”
Dr Robertson stressed the main concern was shipping activity in the area, dismissing concerns that the increased activity could trigger a tsunami.
“The most likely scenario as we move forward is that you will have this period of increased seismicity for a little bit longer. The most concerning aspect of it currently is for shipping that is associated with the Kick ‘em Jenny area, so that currently the Government of Grenada has increase the alert level to Orange and it means therefore that ships should not be within five kilometers of the Kick ‘em Jenny volcano, and that is mainly to avoid them being affected by some sort of eruptive activity.”
He insisted that the threat of tsunami was particularly low.
“With the depth of Kick ‘em Jenny that kind of scenario is actually very low and nothing that people should worry about.”
The seismic team in Grenada, which includes researcher Lloyd Lynch, will install sensors and a computer hub at the Emergency Operation Centre over the next few days to better update and advise disaster management officials across the region.