Friday 6 December, 2019

Did You Know: Kick 'em Jenny volcano is alive and well

SeaBeam image of Kick 'em Jenny. March, 2003. (University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre)

SeaBeam image of Kick 'em Jenny. March, 2003. (University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre)

On Tuesday, a yellow alert was issued for Grenada after much seismic activity was recorded near the Kick 'em Jenny volcano, with the National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) warning seafarers to stay at least 1.5 kilometres away from the area.

With high levels of seismicity - a series of earthquakes, at the Kick em’ Jenny Volcano since September 30, 2018, we turned to the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre at St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago to bring you these facts about the volcano.

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What is Kick 'em Jenny?

Kick 'em Jenny is a submarine volcano or a volcano which lies below sealevel.

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 14 times since it was discovered in 1939. 

The most recent eruption of Kick 'em Jenny occurred in April 2017. 

Kick 'em Jenny could form an island 

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.   

 

Where is Kick 'em Jenny?

Kick 'em Jenny is located approximately 8km North of Grenada (12.18 degrees North, 61.38 degrees West). 

This location is in the southern part of the Grenadine Islands which are themselves in the southern part of the Lesser Antilles island arc. This location is clearly visible from northern Grenada. 

The volcano should not be confused with the nearby Diamond Rock, which is also called 'Kick 'em Jenny' on some charts. 

 

What is the most significant danger associated with Kick 'em Jenny?  

Kick 'em Jenny is the possible source of a number of potential dangers. 

The most immediate and frequent danger is to marine vessels in the vicinity of the volcano during eruptions and during the 'quiet' periods between eruptions. 

The volcano lies directly beneath one of the main inter-island shipping routes and the area is popular both with recreational sailors and fishermen. 

For this reason, Kick 'em Jenny is carefully monitored and a 1.5km exclusion zone around the summit of the volcano is currently in place. 

 

Are tsunamis possible if Kick 'em Jenny erupts again?  

In addition to the vulnerability of the shipping industry, many people are also concerned about sea waves or tsunamis. While it is probable that large explosions or landslides at Kick 'em Jenny could generate tsunamis, the threat from tsunamis has been largely over exaggerated. Not all eruptions at Kick 'em Jenny will generate tsunamis and not all tsunamis will be large.

Studies show that the worst eruption that Kick 'em Jenny is capable of under any circumstances might generate a wave with an amplitude of 10m in open waters at a distance of 10km from the vent. Waves of this amplitude could be generated only if the volcano began to erupt in water depths of less than about 130m. Currently, the depth to the vent is 268m.  

Although scientists continue to stress the improbability of an eruption generating a tsunami, this hazard also remains of great public concern. 

 

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