Caribbean volcano set to erupt

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The Independent Online
Olverston (Reuter) - People on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat were yesterday praying for an end to the rumblings from the Chances Peak volcano, which may be heading for what officials called a "climactic eruption."

Scientists at Montserrat Volcanic Observatory said they remained "gravely concerned" about the level of activity of the volcano, which roared back to life last week.

More than 4,000 residents of the British colony were evacuated from their homes on the southern side of the island on Wednesday and were living in shelters set up by the government. Many of the island's 9,500 residents marked Easter by packing churches to pray for an end to the volcanic activity that has been looming over their lives.

Some sermons also sought to reassure residents of the danger area, who spent last Christmas and New Year living in shelters because of the threat.

Scientists said they could not accurately predict when, or if, the volcano would erupt. On Saturday it spewed its largest column of hot ash to date, billowing as high as 30,000, according to scientists.

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