No tsunami threat to Barbados from Kick ‘em Jenny – scientist assures

A top official of the Seismic Research Center (SRC) in Trinidad is assuring that there is currently no tsunami threat to Barbados as a result of increased activity at the underwater Kick ‘em Jenny volcano.

Yesterday, the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) put citizens on guard after the alert level for Kick ‘em Jenny was raised from yellow to orange at the weekend.

While urging Barbadians not to be alarmed, DEM Director Kerry Hinds said her office was keeping a close eye on developments with the undersea volcano.

Professor Richard Robertson (inset) is assuring that there is currently no tsunami threat to Barbados as a result of increased activity at the underwater Kick ‘em Jenny volcano.

An orange alert signals there are highly elevated levels of seismic, fumarolic or other unusual activity at the volcano.

However, in issuing a LIVE update via Facebook today, SRC Director Professor Richard Robertson made it clear that there was no “direct threat to Barbados.

“So people shouldn’t get too worried now, [but] you should not stop listening [to updates from authorities], you should be aware of what is happening . . .  . Listen to the information, but don’t get overly concerned. A tsunami threat to Barbados does not exist,” he said.

However, with the current level of alert, Professor Robertson advised boats and fishermen, who normally ply the area, to stay away from the centre of the volcano.

He explained that the increase in activity, which involved the continuous release of gases, could “lower the buoyancy of the water and cause boats to sink”.

“All that is happening now is that there are a lot of earthquakes [and] there is likely to be an eruption. If the situation changes, we will advise the relevant authorities and they will issue information on how the public should respond,” he added, while stressing that the current activity, which had been fluctuating yesterday, was not likely to lead to anything that “would generate a tsunami that would go as far as Barbados, Trinidad or St Vincent”.

The volcanologist also said that given the current depth of the underwater volcano, estimated to be 200m below the surface of the sea, it was unlikely that an explosion would produce enough material to displace a large body of water to generate a disturbance beyond the north of Grenada.

“If you were to have an eruption it would occur within the five kilometre zone. The areas outside of that are unlikely to be affected directly unless there is a large enough eruption . . . . We don’t think as it is now, given the size of its [Kick ‘em Jenny’s] current configuration that it is likely to generate a big enough event.” Kick ‘em Jenny last erupted in April, 2017.

Professor Robinson said the SRC and disaster management agencies in the Caribbean would continue to monitor the volcano and reassess the situation for any changes.

He urged citizens to get their updates from authorized sources, including the SRC, and local disaster officials.

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