Loud explosion at Piparo mud volcano, cracks appearing across roads, Trinidad and Tobago

Loud explosion at Piparo mud volcano, cracks appearing across roads, Trinidad and Tobago

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."

Update

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

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