From Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online

Mud threatens the village 14 years later

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Piparo volcano goes silent
by Radhica Sookraj

Although the rumblings and gas spurts from the Piparo mud volcano are slowly subsiding, the Office of Disaster Preparedness (ODPM) is maintaining a safety
alert. Over the past few days hundreds of people have been flocking to the area to look at the volcano which has been dormant for 14 years since a huge
eruption on February 22, 1997.

Boyie Seeratt, who lives about 300 feet from the site, said: “We had over a 1,000 people coming here over the weekend. Many of them come with
their families to see the volcano. “I could have made some good money because they were asking for lunch and phoulourie.”

Seeratt said officials from the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Unit, fire prevention officers and a team from the ODPM visited it on Sunday.
He said following loud eruptions and heightened activity on Friday and Saturday, the volcano has become quiet.

“We are relieved because the last time it erupted, we had to run for our lives,” Seeratt recalled. He said he and his family were on standby in case of an
eruption. “We already packed a bag with all the important documents. If we feel the place shaking, we will grab the bag and run,” he said. Chief Executive
Officer of the ODPM, Dr Stephen Ramroop, said his team was continuing to monitor it.

“The volcano is very silent and it is not talking to us at all. We are continuing to monitor it. “We haven’t called off the alert. The experts have said we should
watch it until the end of tomorrow to see if it settles down,” Ramroop said. He said it was seepage of surface water into the heated areas, not seismic activity,
that triggered the gas spurts and rumblings.

Sunday, 04 December 2011

Residents of Piparo are living on the edge as the mud volcano that ravaged the village 14 years ago, has begun to threaten their community again.
Residents are subjected to sleepless nights as they are haunted with memories of February 22, 1997, when steaming mud crushed houses and swept away cars, livestock and all else in its path. When the Sunday Guardian visited the site off Old Piparo Road yesterday, two new mounds had surfaced, spewing mud
several feet into the air at five minute intervals. At the scene was Shammarine Kissoondath, 56, who lives nearby. He said he came to see what was
happening as he had been kept awake by strange sounds issuing from the volcano.

He said: “It sounded like gunshots and this morning when I awoke it was still making noise. This is the same sound it made before it erupted in 1997.
It is possible that we can have a repeat and maybe this time it could be worse. He said it only took ten minutes on that fateful day for the massive amount
of mud spewing from the volcano to wreak havoc. Boyie Suratt, who lives about 300 feet from the volcano said he, too, has been sleeping restlessly since
Thursday. Suratt’s home is nearest the volcano and he said while he does not believe that it will erupt any time soon, no one can predict when and how
severe another eruption might be.

I was home in my gallery around 3 am on Thursday and I heard this sound like people bursting bamboo. We usually get a little noise now and then,
especially when it rains because gas is trying to escape. But now the noise has been coming frequently like it have plenty gas down there.
He explained that the rain softens the mud which causes minor explosions. However, he admits that over the past few days the noise levels had increased
significantly occurring at an alarming rate. He, too, recalled the drama that unfolded in 1997, saying that a wave of mud several feet high was crumbling
any house in its path. Suratt said his home was saved as another house that crumbled was able to forge a barrier in front of his.
He said on February 22, 1997, he awoke to mud spewing some 200 feet into the air.

Anatomy of a Mud Volcano  Interesting article from Internet Express,Trinidad,WI.
The Eruption I  Mud volcano engulfs Piparo, Feb.23rd, 1997
The Eruption II  When the Piparo bubble burst, March 2nd.1997
Still threatening  News of February 24th.1997
Once again, 2011  December 2011
Trinidad Express  Thanks to The Trinidad Internet Express
Info from NODAK,Alaska  From people who know what it is..

Return to Volcano Special page