Alert Level Raised As Heightened Activity Recorded At Underwater Volcano Kick ’Em Jenny

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Thursday July 23, 2015 – The UWI Seismic Research Centre (SRC) has heightened the alert level at underwater volcano Kick ‘em Jenny to orange – which means it could start erupting with less than a day’s warning – after strong, continuous signals were recorded in the early hours of this morning.

In an advisory posted on its website and on social media, the centre said that from 1:25 a.m. to 3 a.m., a strong continuous signal was observed on instruments monitoring the submarine volcano which is located 8 km north of Grenada.

“Signs of elevated seismicity (earthquakes) began on 11th July and continue to present. For the period since the 11th July a total of more than 200 micro and small earthquakes, of varying magnitudes, have been recorded, with the largest, prior to the strong signal, less than magnitude 3.0,” the Trinidad-based SRC reported.

It added that divers had also observed degassing occurring off the west coast of Grenada in the Moliniere Sculpture Park area.

“This activity is being closely monitored by the UWI-SRC and further updates would be issued as more information becomes available,” the centre said.

An orange alert, according to the UWI-SRC website, is issued when there is highly elevated level of seismic and/or fumarolic activity or other unusual activity. In this case, eruption may begin with less than 24 hours’ notice.

The recommended action corresponding with that orange alert is for: vulnerable communities to be advised of evacuation routes and transport put on standby; all shipping to remain outside the first exclusion zone (1.5 km from the summit); and all non-essential shipping (pleasure craft, etc.) to stay 5 km clear of the summit (second exclusion zone).

It is also recommended that local radio stations in Grenada, St. Vincent, Barbados and Trinidad be placed on alert and that residents monitor local radio stations for updates and visit the SRC website where possible.

Kick ’em Jenny is the most frequently active volcano in the region, erupting at least 12 times since it was discovered in 1939. The last eruption was on December 4, 2001.

The SRC states on its website, in its frequently asked questions about volcanoes, that Kick ’em Jenny is most dangerous for ships and boats since the gases it releases can lower the density of the water, causing vessels to sink even if the volcano is not erupting.

It added that, although likely to be minor, tsunamis triggered by underwater eruptions are a potential hazard for neighbouring islands if Kick ’em Jenny erupts.

Trini Table

The heightened activity at Kick ‘em Jenny comes amidst a week of earthquakes occurring to the northeast of Barbados.

In response to a question posted on its Facebook page last weekend, about whether there was any relation between those tremors and the underwater volcano, the SRC had said they were “not related at all”.




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