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  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • West Indies
  • Stratovolcano
  • 160 CE
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 17.37°N
  • 62.8°W

  • 1156 m
    3792 ft

  • 360030
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Liamuiga.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Liamuiga.

Index of Monthly Reports

Reports are organized chronologically and indexed below by Month/Year (Publication Volume:Number), and include a one-line summary. Click on the index link or scroll down to read the reports.

10/1988 (SEAN 13:10) Earthquake swarm

11/1988 (SEAN 13:11) Seismicity remains above background

01/1989 (SEAN 14:01) Seismicity re-intensifies slightly

Contents of Monthly Reports

All information contained in these reports is preliminary and subject to change.

10/1988 (SEAN 13:10) Earthquake swarm

An earthquake swarm in the vicinity of Mt. Liamuiga began on 24 October and had declined by early November.

"The volcano is monitored by a single short-period seismograph station 8 km SE of the crater (SKI, figure 1). A second station (NEV) is 35 km to the SE and there are four other stations within 80 km of the volcano. The stations have been operating since 1952/53 and since 1980 have been linked by radio telemetry to the Seismic Research Unit, 700 km to the S. Data transmission is by standard analog techniques but data are recorded digitally using IBM PC-AT microcomputers. Since SKI was installed in 1953 it has recorded occasional microearthquakes with S-P intervals <2 seconds. These earthquakes show impulsive arrivals and clear P and S phases. They may possibly be small tectonic earthquakes but it is more likely that they are A-type volcanic earthquakes associated with Mt. Liamuiga. Normally, one or two are recorded each month.

Figure 1. Epicenters of the two largest earthquakes (6-pointed stars) and 10 smaller events (open circles) at Liamuiga, 24 October-3 November 1988. Location uncertainties are ~5 km. Seismic stations are shown by solid triangles. Stations off the map are indicated by arrows, labeled with approximate distances from Mt. Liamuiga. Courtesy of UWI.

"On 24 October, a swarm of these events began and built up rapidly, peaking on 26 October when 186 earthquakes were recorded (figure 2). Many of the earthquakes were felt on St. Kitts and they caused great alarm. John Shepherd carried out an intensity survey on the morning of 27 October. At least five earthquakes were felt by all on St. Kitts. The most severe earthquakes up to that time were at 1201 and 1824 GMT on 26 October, with estimated magnitudes (mb) of 4.3 and 4.5. Both were felt throughout St. Kitts at up to MM VI and caused minor damage to weak masonry. They were also felt on the neighbouring islands of Nevis, Saba, Antigua, and Saint Maarten. Other earthquakes have been reported felt, mainly in the settlements on the flanks of Mt. Liamuiga. A party of tourists was visiting the crater of Mt. Liamuiga at the time of the second large earthquake. They reported that it was difficult to stand and that numerous small landslides were generated on the inner and outer walls of the crater.

Figure 2. Daily numbers of earthquakes near Mt. Liamuiga (S-P intervals <3 seconds) recorded by station SKI beginning 24 October 1988. Courtesy of UWI.

"Figure 1 shows epicenters of the two biggest earthquakes and 10 others that were sufficiently well recorded for estimates to be made. Focal depths of all events were in the 10-20 km range (mean 15 km). Clearly, the number and distribution of the stations in operation when the earthquakes began were not ideal for the location of the smaller events, so these epicenters are subject to uncertainties of the order of 5 km. To reduce these uncertainties, Lloyd Lynch added three extra stations to the network (BSK, SKDB, and SENA) on 29-30 October. Data from these stations are now being analyzed.

"It is too early to say whether this earthquake swarm has any direct connection with Mt. Liamuiga. It is still possible that they are of tectonic origin. However, the characteristics of the swarm are similar to those of previous volcanic earthquake swarms in other islands of the Lesser Antilles. Many of these swarms have occurred, particularly in the islands of Nevis, Montserrat, Dominica, Guadeloupe, and St. Vincent. Only a small proportion of these swarms have culminated in volcanic eruptions, but on the other hand, almost all eruptions have been preceded by earthquake swarms. This is the first known swarm in St. Kitts and the situation will be carefully monitored."

Information Contacts: J. Shepherd, L. Lynch, and K. Rowley, UWI.

11/1988 (SEAN 13:11) Seismicity remains above background

. . . seismicity remained above background levels in early December, with ~3-4 shallow events recorded weekly by the temporary seismic net installed after the swarm began. Hypocenters were at ~5-10 km depth, almost directly below or slightly W of Mt. Liamuiga, and magnitudes were generally in the 1.5-2 range. The shocks continued to have impulsive P and S wave arrivals typical of both A-type volcanic events and tectonic earthquakes. No tremor has been recorded. Persons familiar with the volcano report that hot springs within the crater remain unchanged.

Information Contacts: J. Shepherd, UWI.

01/1989 (SEAN 14:01) Seismicity re-intensifies slightly

The earthquake swarm . . . intensified slightly in January. As of 22 January, 15 local earthquakes had been registered during the month, four of which were felt on 18 January. Records from the seismographs installed in October confirmed that these events originated at depths of 3-5 km directly beneath and slightly W of the crater. The slightly shallower focal depths compared with the earlier events may reflect better depth control. Keith Rowley inspected the crater on 19 January. There were no significant changes. An additional seismograph station was established at Mt. Pleasant, 3 km N of the crater, on 20 January.

Information Contacts: J. Shepherd, K. Rowley, and L. Lynch, UWI.

Mount Liamuiga volcano, comprising the NW end of St. Kitts Island, contains a steep-walled, 1-km-wide summit crater, which contained a shallow lake until 1959. Two lava domes are located on the upper western flank, and intrusion of a 3rd dome, Brimstone Hill, on the lower SW flank uplifted a Pleistocene limestone block. Liamuiga volcano (sometimes referred to as Mount Misery) is the youngest of 3 NW-migrating volcanic centers on St. Kitts. Its most recent major eruptions less than 2000 years ago produced pyroclastic flows and mudflows whose deposits underlie populated coastal areas. Reports of possible historical eruptions in 1692 and 1843 are considered uncertain. An earthquake swarm occurred from late 1988 to early 1989, causing small landslides in the summit crater; another earthquake swarm took place in 1999-2000. Active fumaroles are found in the summit crater of Liamuiga.

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
[ 1843 Feb 8 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    
[ 1692 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    
0160 ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Tephra unit F
0060 ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Tephra unit E
2010 BCE ± 150 years Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Tephra unit D

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Middle Range Stratovolcano

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Brimstone Hill Dome 213 m 17° 21' 0" N 62° 50' 0" W
Farm Flat Dome 655 m 17° 22' 0" N 62° 50' 0" W
Misery Peak, Mount Dome 1156 m 17° 22' 0" N 62° 48' 0" W
Salt Pond Peninsula Dome 17° 15' 0" N 62° 38' 0" W
Sandy Point Hill Dome 610 m 17° 22' 0" N 62° 50' 0" W
The jagged eastern crater rim of Mount Liamuiga volcano, comprising the NW end of St. Kitts (St. Christopher) Island, conceals a steep-walled, 1-km-wide summit crater. The jagged peak at left center is a lava dome on the eastern crater rim forming the high point of the island. The most recent major eruptions at the volcano less than 2000 years ago produced pyroclastic flows and mudflows whose deposits underlie populated coastal areas. Reports of possible historical eruptions in 1692 and 1843 are considered uncertain.

Photo by Kirstie Simpson, 2001 (Seismic Research Unit, University of West Indies).

The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.

Baker P E, 1985. Volcanic hazards on St. Kitts and Montserrat, West Indies. J Geol Soc London, 142: 279-295.

Harkness D D, Roobol M J, Smith A L, Stipp J J, Baker P E, 1994. Radiocarbon redating of contaminated samples from a tropical volcano: the Mansion 'Series' of St Kitts, West Indies. Bull Volc, 56: 326-334.

Roberston R, 2005a. St. Kitts. In: Lindsay J M, Robertson R E A, Shepherd J B, Ali S (eds). {Volcanic Hazard Atlas of the Lesser Antilles}, Trinidad and Tobago, Seismic Res Unit, Univ West Indies, p 204-217.

Robson G R, Tomblin J, 1966. West Indies. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 20: 1-56.

Roobol M J, Smith A L, Wright J V, 1985. Dispersal and characteristics of pyroclastic fall deposits from Mt. Misery volcano, West Indies. Geol Rundschau, 74: 321-335.

Shepherd J B, 2001. Volcanoes of the eastern Caribbean: past activity and future hazards. Paper presented at the Workshop on Volcanic and Seismic Hazards in the eastern Caribbean, May 28- June 1, 2001, 57 p.

Smithsonian Institution-SEAN, 1975-89. [Monthly event reports]. Bull Scientific Event Alert Network (SEAN), v 1-14.

Volcano Types

Lava dome(s)

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Oceanic crust (< 15 km)

Rock Types

Andesite / Basaltic Andesite
Basalt / Picro-Basalt


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Liamuiga Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
Smithsonian Collections Search the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections database. Go to the "Search Rocks and Ores" tab and use the Volcano Name drop-down to find samples.