Helicopter Ride Over an Active Volcano
Montserrat - Soufrière Hills Volcano
Ever seen an active volcano, up close and personal? This video (shot last week) shows Montserrat's Soufriere Hills Volcano, which began erupting in 1995 (after being dormant for almost 400 years).
The lava on Montserrat doesn't flow like you see in the movies, but instead is slowly pushed to the top to create an unsteady and volatile dome. Explosions from deep within the volcano literally blow the top off the dome, sending up large columns of ash and rock fragments, which rain down on the area around the volcano.
Since the first eruption in 1995, only one eruption claimed lives. Lack of education and reluctance to believe scientific evidence led 19 people to return to evacuated areas. In 1997, all of those people were killed in a matter of minutes after a massive eruption.
The volcano's dome last collapsed in 2006, but seismic activity shows a potential for another eruption. The Montserrat Volcano Observatory lists the current alert level at 4 (5 is a major dome collapse). But even scientists who study the volcano on a daily basis can't predict with any certainty when, or even if, she'll blow again.
Instead of trying to outguess the volcano, the people of Montserrat are pouring their energy into rebuilding what's left of their island and that includes touting it as a tourist destination.
Would you spend your Caribbean vacation on Montserrat?
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