BRADES, Montserrat, Feb 21 2016 – Authorities of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) are investigating and monitoring a sink hole in the area of North West Bluff, on the north coast of this island, about 12 kilometres from the Soufrière Hills Volcano.
The Observatory said during a routine helicopter flight to a GPS station recently, authorities discovered the circular sinkhole, which is said to be approximately five metres in diameter and 20 to 30 metres deep.
“A ground collapse has generated a vertical pit, at least 30 metres deep. It is five metres across at the top and has near-vertical sides, although it narrows to about one metre towards the base. It is thought to have formed within the last month, when we last overflew this area. Initial investigations from the ground revealed the presence of small amounts of steam rising from the sinkhole. However, no obvious signs of a high-temperature heat source could be detected with a thermal camera,” said MVO officials
Residents, particularly livestock farmers have been warned not to venture to the area as there’s significant cracking around the edge of the sinkhole.
The MVO team said it is “deploying several instruments in the area to monitor for further activity.”
These include a SPIDER (with a seismometer and GPS receiver), EDM reflectors and a camera.