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Dominica: Boiling Lake water levels decrease

The water level at the Boiling Lake in Dominica has decreased and is below its normal water level.

Observations made by a field team of officers from Dominica’s Office of Disaster Management (ODM), Forestry, Wildlife & Parks Division and Fire Services Division on a visit to the Boiling Lake on December 1, indicated that water levels at the Boiling Lake have decreased since the previous visit made on November 22.

On December 1, the lake was reported to be ~15m below its normal water level.

Further observations made by a local tour guide on December 7, indicated that there was a further decrease in the water levels, slightly lower than was first observed on November 18.

The UWI Seismic Research Centre (UWI SRC) says based on scientific knowledge of how the lake behaves, these fluctuations occur when vents beneath the lake are blocked. This limits the flow of gas and water into the lake and when vents are unblocked the flow resumes. Water levels may therefore fluctuate before returning to normal.

The observed changes in water levels and activity at the Boiling Lake have previously occurred and are not necessarily related to increased volcanic activity in the area.

Historically, these periods of instability can last for weeks to months before normal activity is fully re-established. During these episodes harmful gases such as Carbon Dioxide can be released and small steam explosions may also occur.

People should, therefore, minimise time spent visiting the immediate area at the Boiling Lake until the activity has subsided.

The UWI-SRC and Dominica’s Office of Disaster Management (ODM) with support from the Forestry, Wildlife & Parks Division, are continuing to monitor the situation and will provide updates.

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