There is no effort by the authorities monitoring the activities at La Soufriere to hide anything from the public.
So said Professor Richard Robertson on radio on January 10. The Professor is head of The UWI Seismic Research Centre (SRC) team currently on the ground in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Professor Robertson reiterated the call for the public to access information on the volcanic activity from credible sources, including the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO).
The advice followed an article which was published in the Daily Mail, suggesting that an eruption was imminent.
The article which appeared on January 8 stated, inter alia, “Researchers have recently detected increased seismic activity on two Caribbean islands which may indicate an imminent eruption.”
This was apparently gleaned from a NASA report that pointed in that direction.
According to Professor Robertson, the capabilities of the satellite imagery of NASA is to indicate hot spots and used primarily for the detection of fires.
It was the same imagery, however, which on December 27 indicated that something was happening at the crater of La Soufriere where investigations would discover that there were signs of an effusive eruption.
“As far as I am aware it (NASA satellite) does not have the capability to determine if eruptions are imminent,” Professor Robertson posited.
And in returning to the allegations that the truth of the situation was not being relayed to the public, the Professor said emphatically, “We are not,” he said.
Robertson explained that they have been using social media and have conducted television and radio interviews to keep the public updated on the developments as they happen.
“There is an effort to ensure that people know what is going on and people should rely on that,” he advised, adding that they are aware that some persons are propagating falsehoods.
Professor disclosed that there have been instruments monitoring the La Soufriere volcano since the 1950s and that it has been one of the more closely monitored volcanic sites, so that the scientists already have a fair amount of knowledge of what it can do.
And in informing that the team is currently installing equipment to facilitate the further study and continued monitoring of La Soufriere, the Professor also noted the vandalism that has been a problem in the past.
“We are asking people to leave them alone,” he pleaded.
The focus now, according to Robertson, was to determine if there are any changes now and if there are, how they can refine what is happening or what they thought was happening at the volcano, and what was driving the eruption.