St. Vincent island volcano erupts with massive ash cloud in the Caribbean

Evacuations are underway as the explosive La Soufriere volcano spews ash across a wide area.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
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This satellite view from NOAA's Goes-East satellite shows the eruption of La Soufriere underway on Friday.


It's been over 40 years since the La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean kicked out an explosive eruption, but it's now happening again.

The country's National Emergency Management Organisation said the ash plume had reached nearly 5 miles (8 kilometers) in height. The agency called for people in zones near the volcano to evacuate immediately.

The Seismic Research Center at the University of the West Indies is tracking the volcano. The center had picked up a series of earthquakes and saw that seismic activity increased on Thursday.

On Friday morning, the Seismic Research Center tweeted that an explosive eruption had begun. The last explosive eruption on record happened in 1979, which NASA said resulted in the evacuation of over 20,000 people. An eruption in 1902 caused the deaths of nearly 1,600 people.  

Photos on Friday showed a large and far-reaching ash cloud.

Scientists have monitored increased activity at the volcano since late 2020 as satellites detected higher temperatures caused by magma near the surface. The Seismic Research Center will continue to track the volcano's activity and provide updates as the eruption continues.