Case study: Chances Peak, Montserrat, 1995-97 – an LEDC Plymouth covered in ash from volcanic eruptions on Montserrat Montserrat is a small island in the Caribbean. There is a volcanic area located in the south of the island, called Soufriere Hills. The volcanic peak in this area is called Chances Peak, which had been dormantdormant: A volcano is classed as dormant when it is temporarily inactive but not fully extinct. for over 300 years. Then in 1995, the volcano began to give off warning signs of an eruption (small earthquakes and eruptions of dust and ash).
Once Chances Peak had woken up it then remained active for a period of five years. The most intense eruptions occurred in 1997. During this time, Montserrat was devastated by pyroclastic flowspyroclastic flow: A pyroclastic flow is a very hot mixture of volcanic debris that flows downhill at high speeds.. The small population of the island (11,000 people) was evacuated[evacuated: removed or sent away ] in 1995 to the north of Montserrat as well as to neighbouring islands and the UK. Despite the evacuations, 19 people were killed by the eruptions.
This is because a small group of people chose to stay behind on the island and watch over their crops. Volcanic eruptions and laharslahars: A lahar is a destructive volcanic landslide or mudflow, consisting of a mixture of volcanic debris, mud, rock and water. have destroyed large areas of Montserrat. The capital, Plymouth, has been covered in layers of ash and mud. Homes and buildings including the only hospital, the airport and many roads have been destroyed. The graphic shows the progress of the eruption and its impact on the island. Montserrat – eruption progress and impact
Short-term responses These include evacuation, money for compensation and redevelopment from the British government, unemployment due to the collapse of the tourist industry, and abandonment of the capital city. Long-term responses These include a volcanic observatory to monitor the volcano, the building of new roads and a new airport, an expansion of services in the north of the island, an exclusion zone in the volcanic region, and a growth in tourism based on the presence of the volcano. Volcanic activity has calmed down in recent years and people have begun to return to the island.
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