July 23, 20151579Views

The alert level for the submarine
volcano, Kick ‘em Jenny which lies between Grenada and its sister island of
Carriacou has been raised to orange which means that there is a highly elevated
level of seismic and/or fumarolic activity or other unusual activity.

In an update posted on its website,
the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC) indicated
that from 1:25 a.m. to 3:00a.m. on Thursday, July 23, “a strong continuous
signal was observed on instruments monitoring the Kick ‘em Jenny submarine

The update further states that “signs
of elevated seismicity (earthquakes) began on 11th July and continue to present.
For the period since the 11th July a total of more than 200 micro and small
earthquakes, of varying magnitudes, have been recorded, with the largest, prior
to the strong signal, less than magnitude 3.0. There have also been
observations from divers of degassing occurring off the west coast of Grenada
in the Moliniere Sculpture Park area.”

The UWI Seismic Research Centre has
affirmed that the increased activity is being closely monitored and further
updates would be issued as more information becomes available. The Department
of Disaster Management is also continuing to monitor the situation and will provide
updates as they are made available.

The UWI Seismic Research Centre has
established a
network and warning system specifically for Kick ’em Jenny, to provide warning
to shipping in the vicinity. It must be noted that this is not a tsunami
warning system. The monitoring system is designed to detect premonitory symptoms
before the eruption begins, and to allow scientists to judge whether an
eruption is building up to a stage where a tsunami could be generated. In this
way vulnerable communities will be given warning prior to a large eruption,
enabling them to evacuate to higher ground.
Recent upgrades in the
monitoring system have resulted in a strong network of monitoring equipment
surrounding the volcano as well as the development of a small, dedicated
volcano observatory on nearby Grenada.

According to information on the
UWI-SRC website, Kick ’em Jenny is a submarine volcano located eight kilometres
north of Grenada. The volcano is about 1300 metres high, and its summit is thought
to be about 180 metres below the surface of the sea. Kick ’em Jenny is the only
‘live’ (likely to erupt again) submarine volcano in the Eastern Caribbean. It
is also the most frequently active volcano in the region, erupting at least 12
times since it was discovered in 1939. The last eruption of Kick ’em Jenny
occurred in December 2001. Kick ’em Jenny is also a modern day demonstration of
how the volcanic islands in this region were formed. With each submarine
eruption deposits of volcanic material accumulate around the summit.
All of the
volcanic islands of the Lesser Antilles began as submarine volcanoes.