Last updated: 04:51 PM ET, Sat July 25 2015

Undersea Volcano Off Grenada Threatening Eruption

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | July 25, 2015

Undersea Volcano Off Grenada Threatening Eruption

Photo via Twitter/@MonseTalleyrand

Watercraft of all types should give the northern coast of Grenada a wide berth as Kick ‘em Jenny may be about to kick off a volcanic eruption, CNN reported.

An active volcano sitting about 600 feet beneath the Caribbean Sea, the Trinidad-based Seismic Research Centre at the University of the West Indies stated that it has erupted 12 times since being discovered in 1939, with the last one in 2001. The Research Centre began detecting new activity July 11, a series of over 200 small earthquakes.

This latest rumbling caused officials to raise the threat level on Thursday to orange, meaning an eruption could occur with less than 24-hour notice.

With that threat level, an exclusion zone has been put in place for ships around the volcano. Recreational vessels must stay at least 3 miles away from Kick ‘em Jenny’s summit.

Scientists told CNN that an eruption could cause a tsunami, but the risk is low, and if one were to occur, it would be small, and just hit the beaches of nearby islands.

There is much more risk for watercraft. Along with heated rocks that can fly up to three miles from the volcano, potentially damaging or destroying ships, gasses also pose a danger, CNN said. Called “degassing,” Kick ‘em Jenny could release a large amount of gas into the sea, a mass of bubbles that lowers the water density, causing ships to lose buoyancy and sink.

CNN reported that one of Grenada's worst boating disasters — a sinking where 60 people died — is thought to be from degassing after the volcano erupted in 1944.

There is some potentially good news. The Jamaica Observer reported that the Research Centre detected a “significant reduction in volcanic earthquake activity” as 6:30 a.m. Saturday, but they did note the orange alert still stands.

According to the Research Centre, vulnerable locales that should pay close attention to radio and Internet updates related to evacuation routes and transport under the orange alert include Grenada, St. Vincent, Barbados and Trinidad.

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