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Digity mud volcano under watch

Thursday, February 15, 2018
Geologist Curtis Archie’s depiction of a cross-section of a mud volcano. Photo by:Tamika Amora

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The University of the West Indies Geological Society is now monitoring the Digity Village mud volcano in Barrackpore for possible eruptions, following Tuesday’s eruption of the Devil’s Woodyard volcano in Hindustan, New Grant.

Geologists Stefon Harrypersad, Varendra Rambaran, and Xavier Moonan visited the volcanoes yesterday and took samples of the volcanic dirt which spewed.

In an interview, Harrypersad said both volcanoes were geologically related.

“It is along the same anticline called the Penal/Barrackpore anticline. (An anticline is a ridge or fold of stratified rock in which the strata slope downwards from the crest.)

Harrypersad added, “There is a chance that both volcanoes may be linked so we will be monitoring that one to see if there are any chances of eruptions occurring in that area. That site is not near any villages but it is a picnic site and we will then advise if they need to have areas cordoned off or not.”

The geologist noted that the Devil’s Woodyard volcano has remained active for many years.

“These volcanoes are always erupting. They tend to be effusive so if you ever visit the site you will see bubbles and gas being expelled. Sometimes the gases get trapped in the reservoirs up to 5,000 feet and over a period of time when those gases are forced to the surface you have these eruptions,” Harrypersad said.

The team collected samples and used a drone to quantify the amount of mud which was expelled from the volcanic cone.

Moonan said he did not think the volcano at New Grant would erupt again.

Saying the two eruptions were consistent with what occurred in 1995, Moonan said a lot of research had been done on the volcanoes by Petrotrin geologist Curtis Archie.

He noted that the expanse of sulphuric dirt is currently dangerous to climb as it was very soft, but noted that once the mud hardens maybe by April, onlookers can get closer to the volcanic cone.

Urging the public to stay away from the area until the various State agencies completed its work, Moonan said, so far, the volcano appears dormant.

Councillor for the district Michelle Benjamin said the area continued to be barricaded. She said she expected an influx of local tourists to flock to the site.

Benjamin said the park will remain free to the public. In its latest bulletin, the Office of Disaster Preparedness said it continues to monitor the volcano saying the multiple eruptions on Tuesday resulted in mud spewing out approximately 100 metres in width and six metres in height.

The ODPM said the Hindustan Road in New Grant will remain closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic except to people who reside in the area.

Anyone with questions or concerns can call 511 or visit the ODPM’s for further information.

On Tuesday, 40 people had to be evacuated after the volcano erupted. There were no reported injuries.


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