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Are There Volcanoes In Jamaica?

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La Soufrière - St. Vincent and the GrenadinesAre There Volcanoes in Jamaica? | La Soufrière - St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Photo Credit: Sygma Getty Images)

by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer Are There Volcanoes in Jamaica?

Are There Volcanoes in Jamaica? A very valid question if you plan on vacationing in Jamaica. For some of us, it might be a safety precaution, being aware of all the possible dangers in a foreign country is a very smart move.
But, you might be among the daredevils who wish to climb up a volcano and you are just looking to see if Jamaica can fulfil something from your bucket list. Well, is there? Let’s find out.


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Are There Volcanoes In Jamaica?

Fortunately, (or unfortunately for a very select few), Jamaica does not have any active volcanoes on the island. Now, has there ever been a volcano in Jamaica is an entirely different question.

Scientists surmise that Jamaica was created over 40 million years ago by an underwater volcanic eruption. Jamaica is believed to be the product of prehistoric volcanoes.

The central ridge of the Blue and John Crow Mountains range comprises metamorphic rock that has pushed through surrounding limestone during the land ascent from the sea floor. But this isn’t the eruption I’m referring to.

Has a volcano ever erupted in Jamaica?

Through research, the Black Hill volcano is believed to have last erupted some 12 million years ago. The eruption is believed to have created the Low Layton Lava off the northern coast of Jamaica. The Black Hill volcano, Portland, Jamaica is now extinct after hundreds of years of inactivity.

When is a volcano considered extinct?

After 10,000 years of inactivity, the volcano is considered extinct. But until then, then the volcano is simply dormant. Now how do you know if a volcano is extinct?

Which Caribbean Countries Have Active Volcanoes?

  1. Soufrière Hills Volcano, Monserrat - The eruption of the Soufrière Hills Volcano is the one I am most familiar with as up until very recently, it was the most recent volcanic eruption. After being dormant from the 1700s until 1995, the volcano has remained active ever since, which means there has been much ongoing volcanic activity since 1995.

    It was the June 25th, 1997 eruption that claimed 19 lives and rendered two-thirds of the island inhabitable. Many Monserrat natives relocated to other countries, mainly England of which it was a territory. As it is today, there are more persons with Monserrat ancestry living outside of the country than those who reside in it. Sadly, because of the volcano eruptions, the already small population was reduced to just over 5,000 citizens.

  2. Kick 'em Jenny - The Kick 'em Jenny is a highly active submarine volcano and sinking hazard for ships. The last eruption was in 2015 making it the only active volcano of its kind in the Caribbean. Because of the gases it expells, ships are banned from travelling too close to the volcano as it will cause the ship to sink.

  3. Mount Pelée, Martinique - At the northern tip of Martinique, you’ll find Mount Pelée which stands at 1,397 m tall. The 10th tallest peak in the Caribbean is located near the town of Saint-Pierre. Its most recent, eruption was in 1902 where a cluster of eruptions claimed the lives of over 28,000.

  4. La Grande Soufrière, Guadeloupe - In the 1970s, La Grande Soufrière erupted and has been dormant ever since. The volcano, located in Basse-Terre has the spot of being the tallest in the Lesser Antilles and the 8th tallest peak in the Caribbean.

  5. La Soufrière, St Vincent and the Grenadines - La Soufrière is 1,234 m tall and is located on the northern section of the island of St Vincent. Its most recent eruption was actually in 2021 and thankfully no lives were lost. However, it caused millions in infrastructure damage and displacement of thousands of Vincentian people. Before this volcanic activity, it was in 1979 that the volcano last erupted.

  6. Mount Liamuiga, St Kitts - After being dormant for over 1,000 years we can only hope that Mount Liamuiga continues to be undisturbed. As the 14th tallest mountain in the Caribbean and measuring 1,156 m., Mount Liamuiga is a popular tourist site and can be hiked. A favourite for most who take the climb is to see the nearby islands of Nevis, Saba, Saint Barthélemy, St Eustatius, St. Martin and Antigua.

  7. Mount Scenery, Saba - Mount Scenery is the most prominent feature on the island of Saba. The volcano has not erupted since in 382 years (its last eruption was in 1640). As the small island's main tourist attraction, it was renovated into a national park.

  8. Morne Diablotins, Dominica - Morne Diablotins is located in the northern region of Dominica. Morne Diablotins is the 9th tallest mountain in the Caribbean at 1447 m. It has not erupted in over 1,000 years. The volcano is popular with hikers and bird watchers who seek to glimpse the endemic Imperial amazon (sisserou parrot).

  9. Morne Trois Pitons, Dominica - Dominica has more active volcanoes than any other Caribbean island. In fact, their most popular volcano is the Morne Trois Pitons which is actually three volcanoes located in the county’s southern region. Morne Watt, Morne aux Diables and Morne Plat Pays are their individual names. The first, Morne Watt is the only volcano in the group to have erupted in the past 25 years, with its last sighted volcanic activity being in 1997.

  10. Nevis Peak, Nevis - Though this volcano is yet to erupt, the possibility exists that it might.

  11. Mount Saint Catherine, Grenada - Known more like a hiking spot than an actual volcano, Mount Saint Catherine is a dormant volcano located in the northern region of Grenada. Be careful though dormant does not mean extinct.

  12. The Quill, Sint Eustatius - The Quill has not erupted in over a thousand years and it too is a National Park in its country. Although Sint Eustatius is in the Caribbean, The Quill is the second tallest mountain in the Netherlands, at 601 m. Confused? Let me clear it up for you. Saba and Sint Eustatius are Netherland territories in the Caribbean.

  13. St. Lucia, Qualibou - Qualibou or The Soufrière Volcanic Centre is located near the town of Soufrière in southwest Saint Lucia. Its last eruption was in 1766.

You might have noticed that quite a few of the volcanoes in the Caribbean have the word Soufriere in their name. Soufriere is the French term for sulphur. All the countries with volcanoes named Soufriere were once French colonies.

If you are familiar with the Caribbean, you would have also noticed that most of the volcanoes are located in Eastern Caribbean countries. Most of the volcanoes in the area are all of the same type, Stratavolcanoes, except for St. Lucia’s Soufriere Volcanic Centre with is a Caldera volcano.

There are no volcanoes in Jamaica, so if that was your fear then you have nothing to worry about. But if you really want to visit a volcano, then you’ll have to visit one of the beautiful islands of the Eastern Caribbean.

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References & Sources For Are There Volcanoes In Jamaica?

  1. Caribbean Volcanoes » Jamaica, https://caribbeanvolcanoes.com/category/caribbean-jamaica/ 
  2. Volcanoes of the Caribbean | Loop Cayman Islands, https://cayman.loopnews.com/content/volcanoes-caribbean-0  
  3. https://www.wovo.org/are-there-volcanoes-in-jamaica/
  4. Caribbean Volcanoes | The UWI Seismic Research Centre, https://uwiseismic.com/volcanoes/caribbean-volcanoes/  
  5. Active Volcanoes In The Caribbean, https://www.caribbeanandco.com/active-volcanoes-in-the-caribbean/#:~:text=As%20for%20the%20other%20volcano,have%20Soufriere%20in%20their%20name Are There Volcanoes in Jamaica?
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