Residents living near Piparo mud volcano, Trinidad and Tobago reported they heard a loud explosion at 22:08 local time, September 21, 2019 (02:08 UTC, September 22). In May 2019, geologists said pressure is building up under the volcano, raising fears another eruption is imminent. A devastating eruption took place at the volcano 22 years ago. Piparo has a cyclicity of large eruptions every 25 to 30 years.
There are cracks appearing across roads and homes at 22:20 LT across Pancho Trace, Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center said, adding that some residents have already self-evacuated.
It's still not clear what's taking place, but cracks are appearing across the roads, some homes were already damaged and residents say there is a high sulfur scent in the air.
The first news of the eruption came from Piparo Village Council:
Trinidad and Tobago Guardian said officials are on their way to the community to get a better understanding of what took place.
In May 2019, geoscientists warned pressure is building up under Piparo, raising fears that another eruption is imminent. At the time, 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 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 3 m (10 feet) higher," he said.
A devastating eruption took place at Piparo on February 22, 1997. Villagers were warned by tremors and rumbling and were able to evacuate at the last minute before mud flooded their homes up to ceilings. "Cars and homes were buried under a 2.5 km3 (1 mi3) of mud that quickly hardened into a concrete-like clay. Though no one was killed, 31 families were permanently displaced from their homes."
This is what is going on at the mouth of the volcano:
Featured image: Home damaged after a loud explosion at Piparo mud volcano on September 21, 2019. Credit: Piparo Village Council