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Ships On Alert As Kick ’em Jenny Rumbles Off Grenada

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ST. GEORGE’S — An active underwater volcano off Grenada’s northern coast called Kick ’em Jenny was rumbling this weekend and regional disaster authorities were put on alert, though they said it posed no threat of triggering a destructive tsunami.

Since its discovery in the 1930s, Kick ’em Jenny has erupted beneath the surface of the Caribbean Sea at least 12 times, most recently in 2001. The volcano, which rises 4,265 feet (1,300 meters) above the seafloor on a steep slope of the Lesser Antilles ridge, hasn’t caused any known deaths or injuries.

The Seismic Research Center at the University of the West Indies said seismic activity had increased in the volcano, which sits 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of Grenada. Recreational divers have reported seeing some “degassing” on the seafloor off Grenada’s west coast as gas-rich magma bubbles.

Center researchers put the alert level at “orange,” which means an eruption could take place within 24 hours. An eruption would stir up high waves and heat surrounding waters to boiling temperatures. Scientists say the volcano can also shoot hot rocks up through the water column.

Under the alert, all boats must stay at least 3 miles (5 kilometers) from the volcano. Kick ’em Jenny poses the greatest threat to mariners since the gases it releases can lower the density of water so significantly vessels can lose buoyancy and sink.

Acting Prime Minister Elvin Nimrod said Kick ’em Jenny poses “no significant threat” to Grenada or other coastal communities on nearby islands for now.

“There is no need to move people away from coastlines,” he told reporters.

People were advised to go about their lives normally. But some were jittery as seismic activity ramped up, knocking out Internet service.

“People are just wondering what’s next,” said Kendel Mark, a resident of the outlying island of Carriacou.

In a 1939 eruption, Kick ’em Jenny shot a cloud of ash 900 feet (270 meters) above the sea surface. Its eruptions since then have been weaker.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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