Kick ’em Jenny

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RMODESTE

FIRST CONTESTANT RICHIE MODESTE

Kick ’em Jenny is an active submarine volcano or seamount on the Caribbean Sea floor located 8 km (5 miles) north of Grenada and about 8 km (5 miles) west of Ronde Island in the Grenadines. Kick ’em Jenny rises 1,300 meters (4,265 ft) above the sea floor on the steep inner western slope of the Lesser Antilles ridge. The South American tectonic plate is subducting the Caribbean tectonic plate to the east of this ridge and under the Lesser Antilles island arc.   Future eruptions could build the volcano high enough to become an island. As the volcano grows closer to the surface, the danger from explosive eruptions and tsunami risk will rise. This volcano is on an active plate boundary and eruptions are expected to continue into the very near future.

Kick ’em Jenny is an unusual name for a volcano and many people are curious about its origin. The name was once used for Diamond Island which is a short distance away from the volcano. That name was given to the island and its surrounding ocean because the waters there can be extremely rough as in kicking their boats. After the volcano’s first known eruption in 1939, people began referring to it as “Kick ’em Jenny” and that name stuck. (kick by a female donkey)

Kick ’em Jenny has the potential to produce explosions that sends small ash clouds high into the atmosphere. This ash could be transported long distances by wind and presents a hazard to aircraft flying near the volcano. With any sign of potential eruption, aircraft will be warned to stay away from the volcano. Explosions can also launch pyroclastic debris high into the air. Ejected materials large enough to kill people or damage watercraft could be thrown at least one mile or more from the volcano. Watercraft will also be warned to stay away from the volcano if there are any signs of activity.

One of the problems with providing adequate warning is that the volcano is below the ocean surface and not closely monitored. This justifies an investment in monitoring equipment. Submarine volcanoes present a variety of hazards. They can erupt, producing eruption columns that rises high into the atmosphere, launching large rocks over broad areas, emitting deadly gases, and producing submarine landslides that can trigger tsunamis.

Another problem is that submarine volcanoes are also difficult and costly to monitor and for that reason they are not as well understood as similar volcanoes that exist on land. Kick ’em Jenny has only been known since 1939 therefore, it does not have a long period of observation that would allow its eruption frequency and behavior to be understood. Again, we emphasize that an investment in monitoring equipment is highly recommended. The primary danger of Kick ‘em Jenny is its unknown capabilities.

This volcano was unknown and most likely erupted many times in the past. On July 23 – 24, 1939, an eruption broke the sea surface, sending a cloud of steam and debris 275 meters (902 ft) into the air, generating a series of tsunamis around two meters (6.6 ft) high that reached the coastlines of northern Grenada and the southern Grenadines. A small tsunami also reached the west coast of nearby Barbados where a sea wave suddenly washed over a coastal road, most likely at Paynes Bay. It is unlikely that the blast of an eruption will produce a major tsunami unless the volcano grows and its summit is at a shallower depth.

Kick ‘em Jenny has since erupted on at least twelve occasions between 1939 and 2001. The last being on December 4, 2001. None of the eruptions have been as large as the one on 1939 and most were only detected by seismographs. The larger eruptions have also been heard underwater or on land close to the volcano and were described as a deep rumbling sound.

A submersible survey in 2003 detected a crater with active fumaroles releasing cold and hot gas bubbles. Samples of fresh olivine basalt were collected. An arc-shaped collapse structure appears on the west flank and was the apparent source of a submarine debris avalanche extending 15 km (49,000 ft) down the ridge slope to the west toward the Grenada Basin. The Global Volcanism Program reports the summit to be 185 meters (607 ft) below the sea surface.

Signs of elevated seismicity began July 11, 2015, and on July 23, a strong continuous signal was recorded by instruments observing Kick ’em Jenny prompting authorities to raise the alert level to orange which is the second highest level. The following day July 24, at 02:00, an hour-long explosion event was recorded. Scientists from the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center observed nothing out of the ordinary at the surface above the volcano during an overflight on July 25th, and by 18:00, no activity was recorded. On July 26th, the Alert Level was lowered to Yellow.

This volcano is on the shipping route from St. Vincent to Grenada. There is a Maritime Exclusion Zone monitored by the Seismic Research Center of the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago, and this is normally at 1.5 km (1 mi) from the center of the volcano. Bubbles of volcanic gases can lower water density, creating a sinking hazard. This is marked on marine charts in this article. During periods of high-level seismic activity, it is increased to five kilometers.

As the volcano grows closer to the surface, the danger from explosive eruptions and tsunami risk will rise. This volcano is on an active plate boundary and eruptions are expected to continue into the very near future. In this article, the value of increased monitoring was explained and advised. Submarine volcanoes are poorly understood therefore, people, aircraft and ships are at risk in the area around this volcano.

See more videos on Kick ’em Jenny in our Gallery below

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I Am Grenada

2 Comments

  1. Christine on 04/23/2021 at 9:32 am

    Very interesting and informative, thank you for the information.

  2. Tracey on 04/25/2021 at 3:17 pm

    Educational information, thanks for sharing.

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