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Keywords:

  • Soufrière Hills Volcano;
  • lava dome;
  • extrusion rates

[1] The third episode of lava dome growth at Soufrière Hills Volcano began 1 August 2005 and ended 20 April 2007. Volumes of the dome and talus produced were measured using a photo-based method with a calibrated camera for increased accuracy. The total dense rock equivalent (DRE) volume of extruded andesite magma (306 ± 51 Mm3) was similar within error to that produced in the earlier episodes but the average extrusion rate was 5.6 ± 0.9 m3s−1 (DRE), higher than the previous episodes. Extrusion rates varied in a pulsatory manner from <0.5 m3s−1 to ∼20 m3s−1. On 18 May 2006, the lava dome had reached a volume of 85 Mm3 DRE and it was removed in its entirety during a massive dome collapse on 20 May 2006. Extrusion began again almost immediately and built a dome of 170 Mm3 DRE with a summit height 1047 m above sea level by 4 April 2007. There were few moderate-sized dome collapses (1–10 Mm3) during this extrusive episode in contrast to the first episode of dome growth in 1995–8 when they were numerous. The first and third episodes of dome growth showed a similar pattern of low (<0.5 m3s−1) but increasing magma flux during the early stages, with steady high flux after extrusion of ∼25 Mm3.