The Volcanological and seismological observatory of Martinique of the IPGP (Institut de physique du globe de Paris, CNRS) sent Thursday 3 December, a report to the Préfet de la Martinique to recommend the passage to the volcanic alert level of yellow for Montagne Pelée (the 2nd level of alert on a scale comprising 4 levels).
This recommendation of the OVSM-IPGP follows the detection of the evolution of seismic signals recorded in the framework of the monitoring of the volcano by the observatory and the consultation with a group of experts that have studied these phenomena.
Located to the north of the island of Martinique, Montagne Pelée, is a stratovolcano linked to the Lesser Antilles subduction zone, that has experienced at least 4 eruptions over the past 250 years: phreatic eruptions without magma input in 1792 and in 1851, and two magmatic eruptions, including the infamous eruption from 1902 to 1905 and the last one from 1929 to 1932.
Even if, in the current state of the measurements, there is no deformation of the volcano on the scale of the monitoring network, the appearance, over a few months, of these three different types of seismic signals of volcanic origin shows a clear change in the behavior of the volcanic system. Indeed, its activity has increased above the base level as observed over several decades.
As a result, the OVSM-IPGP, after discussion with a group of around 20 experts from the institute, is increasing its vigilance and recommending a change to the yellow alert level.
This change to the yellow volcanic alert level corresponds to a reinforcement of the monitoring resources deployed by the OSVM and the mobilization of additional resources (human and instrumental resources) at IPGP in order to better monitor and analyze the situation in real time as well as track the behaviour and evolution of the volcanic system.
The Martinique prefecture has followed this recommendation and the Montagne Pelée area goes to the yellow volcanic alert level as of December 4, 2020.
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