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Montserrat Eruption 1997
Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat in the Caribbean.
Capital Plymouth (south west of the island)
Remained dormant for 350 years.
Began to erupt on July 18, 1995. Main eruption climaxed on June 25,1997.
Montserrat rests on the plate boundary of the continental Caribbean plate and the
Oceanic Atlantic plate. This boundary is a destructive boundary (subduction zone)
where the denser and heavier plate (Atlantic) sinks under the less dense and lighter
continental plate (Caribbean).
When the Atlantic oceanic crust subducted to the Caribbean plate due to increasing
pressure and friction, the plate melts and magma begins to rise to the surface through
cracks forming the volcano. This also creates small, medium and large earthquakes
because of the friction being created.
Part of the British colony, which is fairly underdeveloped.
12,000 people live in the capital 50% of the population.
Inhabitants are quite poor living in small villages they practice subsistence farming.
The volcano is located on the south flank of the island that is more developed than the
northern part of the island.
Soufriere Hills is a composite volcano.
The volcano had been swelling and seen bursting steam. Building pressure inside the
lava dome, which then collapsed. This caused 3 huge pyroclastic flows destroying
An evacuation and rescue team was supported by the British government.
19 people died, some are missing and cattle are dead.
7,000 people were displaced from their homes.
Residents suffered from respiratory diseases e.g. Silicosis from continuous ash fall
during the event.
People were stranded in the north as there was little communication and transport
Several injured survivors were burned badly.
Thousands of homes, livelihood and possessions were destroyed.
Aid was given the people who wished to migrate.
The destruction of the capital, poor transport links e.g. airport, and much of the land
ended the tourism business in Montserrat.
Crops and animals for cattle were lost due to the volcanic disaster.
Plymouth, the capital was covered in ash and unpopulated which became a ghost town.
Loss of trade, tourism and in need of rebuilding with little national money to pay for all
£6.5 million was spent towards emergency housing schemes financed by international
2/3 of the island was uninhabitable, destroyed and part of the exclusion zone.
Many habitats were destroyed.