St. Vincent and the Grenadines (New784) – Could the Southern Wall of La Soufriere crater become compromised?
Professor Richard Robertson in answering such a question said in 1979; the vent was central in the crater; he says because of the obstruction of the 79 dome the vent is now south-west of the old crown.
He said most of the activity would flow in that direction and there is a possibility that it could compromise the crater wall.
“You can have things like a lateral blast and preferential movement in that south-west direction”.
A lateral eruption or lateral blast is a volcanic eruption directed laterally from a volcano rather than upwards from the summit.
Breaking occurs at the flanks of volcanoes, making it easier for magma to flow outward.
Robertson said the reasons they had place reflectors on the South Western wall were to look for potential failure in the structure.
“Now our concern was twofold, yes to look at whether the weight of the dome itself, the size of that mass of rock that is now resting on the crater wall could cause it to fail”.