Country Profile

Go to: Geography / Disaster Management / Seimicity Overview / Volcanism Overview / La Soufrière Volcano / Future Eruptions / Country zonal map and Current Alert Level


Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an archipelago which consists of 32 islands covering a total of 389 square km, with a total population of approximately 110,784[1]. St. Vincent is located within the southern part of the Lesser Antilles island arc about 161 km west of Barbados, 109 km north of Grenada and 306 km north of Trinidad. St. Vincent, the largest and northernmost island, is the country's commercial and political center, accounting for 90 percent of both the land area and population. It is roughly oval in shape and is approximately 29 km long and 17.5 km wide at its broadest point. A very prominent central mountain range from La Soufrière (1,178 m), in the north, to Mount St. Andrew (736 m) in the south runs the length of the island. This range of volcanic mountains divides the island almost equally between a gently sloping eastern or windward side and a deeply dissected and rugged western or leeward side. The island enjoys a tropical climate with the hottest and most humid months between June and September when daytime temperatures reach an average high of 30°C. 

Disaster Management

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is highly vulnerable to geophysical and hydrometeorological events, including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and climate change-induced events such as hurricanes, floods, drought, and landslides. The country experiences its annual rainy/hurricane season from June to November. Following the rainy/hurricane season, St. Vincent and the Grenadines enters its annual dry season from December to May. Recent emergencies, including Hurricane Ivan (2004), Hurricane Tomas (2010), and the Christmas Trough (2013), produced major flooding throughout the island. In 2016, additional flooding from a slow-moving trough system caused widespread damage.  High winds and rainfall, coupled with the mountainous terrain, are the principal risk factors. Landslides are also significant hazards, and the risk is elevated during the rainy/hurricane season. Coastal flooding is also a major concern, particularly relating to storm surges and high wave action, as well as sea level rise. The Grenadines are highly susceptible to droughts (mainly due to the absence of rivers) and depend almost entirely on rainwater harvesting for potable water supply.[1] These climate change impacts have created vulnerabilities in agricultural production, health, and critical infrastructure for basic services including water, communications, and transport. St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been proactive in addressing these issues. It has conducted two National Communications on Climate Change (2000 and 2015) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and prepared its Strategy for Climate Resilience (2011) under the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) under the Regional Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (RDVRP). The RDVRP has advanced several activities specifically designed to address climate vulnerability, including resilient infrastructure, data collection for climate adaptation, policy reforms, and education and awareness-building activities.

Seimicity Overview

St. Vincent lies in an area of the Caribbean which has a relatively low seismic hazard. Volcanic earthquakes have been associated with most of the explosive eruptions of La Soufrière in the historic past.  Earthquake activity prior to a violent eruption in St. Vincent has varied from a few days to months and even years (Anderson and Flett, 1903, Shepherd, et. al., 1979). However, there have been numerous occasions in which earthquakes have occurred with no ensuing eruptions so the earthquakes may not necessarily be a consistent indicator of impending volcanic activity.

Volcanism Overview

St. Vincent is made up of a series of volcanoes that form a central range of mountains from La Soufrière volcano in the north to Mount St. Andrew in the South. This central backbone consists of several old volcanoes which are no longer active, e.g. Grand Bonhomme, Richmond Peak & Mount Brisbane. In the past, volcanic activity in St. Vincent has alternated between violently explosive eruptions and quiet emissions of lava. This activity has produced mountains made up of several layers of lava and rock fragments called stratovolcanoes. Later activity has formed prominent peaks or lava domes in the interior of the island.

La Soufrière Volcano

Rising 1,178m (3,864ft) above sea level and occupying the northern third of the island, La Soufrière volcano is the only ‘live’ or potentially active volcano in St. Vincent. Several eruptions in the past have caused considerable damage and numerous casualties. Four major eruptions occurred in 1812, 1902, 1979 and 2020-2021.

Date Type of Eruption


1780 Dome building
1812 Explosive; >56 fatalities
1880 Dome Building
1902-03 Explosive; >1,565 fatalities
1971-72 Dome building
1979 Explosive; >no fatalities; >14,000 evacuated
2020-2021 Explosive; >no fatalities; >18,000 evacuated

Future Eruptions

Future activities at La Soufrière are expected to be quite similar to that experienced in the past century. It is possible that explosive eruptions of similar or larger size than the 1979 eruption will occur. 

Country zonal map and Current Alert Level

volcanic hazard zones in proximity to the volcano can be identified by the ‘red’, ‘orange’  'yellow' and 'green' colours.