Soufrière Hills

The Soufrière Hills are an active, complex stratovolcano with many lava domes forming its summit on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. After a long period of dormancy, the Soufrière Hills volcano became active in 1995 and has continued to erupt ever since. Its eruptions have rendered more than half of Montserrat uninhabitable, destroying the capital city, Plymouth, and causing widespread evacuations: about two-thirds of the population have left the island.Chances Peak in the Soufrière Hills was the highest summit on Montserrat until the mid-1990s, but it has since been eclipsed by various rising and falling volcanic domes during the recent volcanic activity.

The volcano is andesitic in nature, and the current pattern of activity includes periods of lava dome growth, punctuated by brief episodes of dome collapse which result in pyroclastic flows, ash venting, and explosive eruption. The volcano is monitored by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. Volcanic gas emissions from this volcano are measured by a Multi-Component Gas Analyzer System, which detects pre-eruptive degassing of rising magmas, improving prediction of volcanic activity.

The Centre Hills in the central part of the island and the Silver Hills in the north are older volcanic massifs related to the subduction zone. There are three main parts of the island: the central zone, subduction and exclusion.

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