Pressure is building up under Piparo mud volcano, Trinidad and Tobago, raising fears another eruption is imminent. Geologists said active changes have also been observed on the surface and subsurface of volcanic vents which erupted 22 years ago, killing livestock and birds.
Xavier Moonan, Senior geoscientist at Touchstone Exploration, said recent studies done over the past year at the Piparo volcano confirm that the volcano is showing active changes, the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian reports.
The volcano has a cyclicity of large eruptions every 25 to 30 years, Moonan said. "As such, one can interpret that an eruption can be imminent."
"We can confirm that the vent is rising but during the rainy season the muds are being eroded at a faster rate than it is rising," Moonan said."We can approximate that had there been no erosion of the mud volcano over the past couple years, the central vent area would have been at least ten feet higher," he said.
"While the data currently suggests that the mud volcano is 'swelling' as pressure builds at depth, our findings are still preliminary as trends over a longer term are needed to conclusively state the status of the mud volcano. Nevertheless, we need to prepare the community and all those that traverse the mud volcano daily to be vigilant and to inform the Regional Corporation for any signs of heightened activity," he said.
"By comparing the 2018 to 2019 survey we can note changes occurring within the main vent. The vent has become more constricted and has shifted to the east south-east. These changes occurring beneath the ground correspond to changes noted in the 3D elevation models from the drone surveys," Moonan said.
Featured image: Eruption of Piparo volcano on February 11, 1997. Credit: Jason Kanhai