Chronology of the Eruption
On September 17th , 1996, a series of dome collapse lead to the first magmatic explosion during this eruption. Rocks and pumice fell in the south of the island, and houses were destroyed at Long Ground. A major ash plume rose to about 40,000 ft, and about 600,000 tonnes of ash was depositied in southern Montserrat. About one-quarter of the dome was removed during the dome collapses and subsequent explosion.
By October 1st , 1996, the first signs of continued growth were observed, with the appearance of a new dome at the base of the scar left by the explosion. By the end of October VT earthquake swarms reinitiated, which continued through until early December. Many landslides occurred from the outside face of the wall, and several cracks opened up across the wall near Chances Peak. Domal growth began again in mid-December, in the southwest crater and was soon sending pyroclastic flows down the south side of the Tar River valley. On the 20th of January, 1997, there was a short-duration collapse which excavated part of the south-east dome. Fresh dome growth strated immediately, forming a secondary dome within the collapse scar. By February 1st, 1997, further degredation of the Wall occurred allowing dome material to collapse over the wall for the first time.