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MVO confirms Sinkhole Not related to any ongoing volcanic activity

MVO GrPro camera

Dr Stinton proudly shows off his new baby. From the bottom: a video light; two laser torches; a GoPro camera; and a GPS. Out of sight round the back is a temperature and humidity sensor. Everything is mounted on an old radio antenna and held together with copious amounts of tape. (MVO Photo)

Following on his adamancy on preliminary findings, Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO)  Director Rod Stewart in last Friday’s weekly  report confirmed that, “…the sinkhole is not related to nor caused by any new or ongoing volcanic activity…”

Just over three weeks ago a sinkhole was discovered on the North West bluff beyond Rendezvous and was reported by the MVO after initial observation that it is not connected to current volcanic activity, and while an interesting development, though puzzling and interesting, “it is not something that is a general concern…”

In its weekly report, the MVO reported, as they explained the steps and equipment employed in their investigation. “Staff conducted further investigations into the sinkhole in the area. On 2 March, a sensor array with a video camera, a temperature and humidity logger, and a GPS were lowered to a depth of 39 metres (129 feet) in the sinkhole where the air temperature was 25.8 degrees Centigrade and humidity 91%.

MVO probe hole

MVO Photo of the probe being lowered into the hole

“An SO2/H2S gas detector was lowered to the same depth and no SO2 or H2S was detected. Images from the camera show volcanic deposits that have undergone varying degrees of hydrothermal alteration. These are clearly features of an old, now extinct soufriere. The video camera also recorded the sound of waves breaking, probably inside a cave, which increased in volume with depth.

“The data gathered by the sensor array confirms that the sinkhole is not related to nor caused by any new or ongoing volcanic activity. The origin of the sinkhole is the result of natural processes of erosion and collapse cause by the action of sea waves on the hydrothermally altered rocks in the area. What has previously been described as steam or “salty steam” is in fact just sea spray generated by waves breaking, probably inside a cave at depth, and being drawn up through the sinkhole by the action of the wind blowing across the surface. The measured depth of 39 metres is the depth to a prominent ledge located just above the entrance to a small passageway at the bottom of the sinkhole. This smaller passageway clearly connects to one or more other cavities further underground and eventually to the sea.”

The MVO says it will release a full written report on the investigations into the sinkhole in due course. However the DMCA and the police continue to advice the public, “to avoid this area as it is considered dangerous and there is a risk of further collapse. The sinkhole is being fenced off.”

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MVO GrPro camera

Dr Stinton proudly shows off his new baby. From the bottom: a video light; two laser torches; a GoPro camera; and a GPS. Out of sight round the back is a temperature and humidity sensor. Everything is mounted on an old radio antenna and held together with copious amounts of tape. (MVO Photo)

Following on his adamancy on preliminary findings, Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO)  Director Rod Stewart in last Friday’s weekly  report confirmed that, “…the sinkhole is not related to nor caused by any new or ongoing volcanic activity…”

Just over three weeks ago a sinkhole was discovered on the North West bluff beyond Rendezvous and was reported by the MVO after initial observation that it is not connected to current volcanic activity, and while an interesting development, though puzzling and interesting, “it is not something that is a general concern…”

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In its weekly report, the MVO reported, as they explained the steps and equipment employed in their investigation. “Staff conducted further investigations into the sinkhole in the area. On 2 March, a sensor array with a video camera, a temperature and humidity logger, and a GPS were lowered to a depth of 39 metres (129 feet) in the sinkhole where the air temperature was 25.8 degrees Centigrade and humidity 91%.

MVO probe hole

MVO Photo of the probe being lowered into the hole

“An SO2/H2S gas detector was lowered to the same depth and no SO2 or H2S was detected. Images from the camera show volcanic deposits that have undergone varying degrees of hydrothermal alteration. These are clearly features of an old, now extinct soufriere. The video camera also recorded the sound of waves breaking, probably inside a cave, which increased in volume with depth.

“The data gathered by the sensor array confirms that the sinkhole is not related to nor caused by any new or ongoing volcanic activity. The origin of the sinkhole is the result of natural processes of erosion and collapse cause by the action of sea waves on the hydrothermally altered rocks in the area. What has previously been described as steam or “salty steam” is in fact just sea spray generated by waves breaking, probably inside a cave at depth, and being drawn up through the sinkhole by the action of the wind blowing across the surface. The measured depth of 39 metres is the depth to a prominent ledge located just above the entrance to a small passageway at the bottom of the sinkhole. This smaller passageway clearly connects to one or more other cavities further underground and eventually to the sea.”

The MVO says it will release a full written report on the investigations into the sinkhole in due course. However the DMCA and the police continue to advice the public, “to avoid this area as it is considered dangerous and there is a risk of further collapse. The sinkhole is being fenced off.”