An overview of the eruption of La Soufrière Volcano, St Vincent 2020–21

Richard E. A. Robertson, Jenni Barclay, E. P. Joseph, R. S. J. Sparks

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This paper provides an overview of the eruption of La Soufrière Volcano on the island of St Vincent which occurred between 27 December 2020 and 22 April 2022. It sets the stage for the 17 papers included in this Special Publication that showcase the initial scientific findings arising from analysis of the crisis. Here we present a chronology of the eruption and discuss the key findings from these papers while underscoring the areas for which further research is needed.

The detailed account of the eruption offers several lessons for volcanic crisis management and provides insights into the most effective communication process through this type of crisis. It highlights the need for and benefits of planning and preparedness activities prior to an eruption as well as of long-term engagement with disaster management officials and at-risk communities. The value of partnerships both within the island and with external collaborators was shown to be critical as was the use of a multiparametric dataset to assess the course of the eruption. We contend that the papers contained in this publication provide key insights into the mechanisms by which volcanic eruptions can impact populations at risk. The suite of analyses and data have generated a canonical dataset that can provide the framework for new advances in understanding the causes and consequences of varying eruptions worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalGeological Society Special Publication
Early online date5 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024

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