Kick’em Jenny

kick_em_jennyAlthough the alert has been lowered, Kick’em Jenny got Seismologists interests peeked last week when it started showing signs of elevated seismic activity. Signs of the submariner volcano waking up came on July 11th, and a very strong signal read on July 23rd, prompted authorities to raise the alert level to Orange – the second highest level. The Orange alert meant that the underwater volcano could erupt within 24 hours.

Submarine Volcano
This picture shows an eruption from a submarine vent off the south coast of Iceland in 1963 which eventually led to the formation of Surtsey Island. This picture closely resembles the description of the 1939 eruption of Kick ’em Jenny. An eruption such as this one would present a clear hazard to shipping. Photo from the Seimic research center

Kick’em Jenny is located about 5 miles north of Grenada in the Caribbean and approximately 550-600 feet below the sea surface. The volcano was first discovered in 1939 and its last eruption was in December 2001. So why is this underwater volcano causing some alarm among the nearby Caribbean islands? The volcano lies beneath a busy shipping lane for yachts and ships traveling between St Vincent and Grenada.
During an eruption, seas can become dangerous and can eject debris hundreds of feet that would cause damage to any boats and humans in the vicinity. Mariners should be aware that a 3 mile excursion zone would be enforced.

Even without a full-blown eruption the volcano can release massive quantities of gas bubbles which can cause large areas of low density sea water. This in turn would cause ships and yachts to lose their buoyancy and sink. For this reason, there is a permanent exclusion zone of just over 1600 yards from the summit of Kick’em Jenny. This is what scientists think happened to the wooden schooner Island Queen, with over 60 people on board, when she disappeared in 1944 between Grenada and St. Vincent… without a trace. – Cue Twighlight Zone theme music.