I’m sure “Kick’em Jenny is rumbling again makes no sense to you. You are not alone. Very few people have heard that name, even if they live quite close to where it is located.
“Kick’em Jenny” is a 4,265ft (1,300m) submarine volcano located eight kilometers north of the Island of Grenada in the Grenadines, Eastern Caribbean. It is active, and showed signs of coming to life again in June, 2020. “Kick’em Jenny is rumbling again means the seismic activity is increasing possibly signaling an eruption. Although Mt. Soufriere on St. Vincent is better known because it’s visible. Kick’em Jenny is just as big a threat to its area, even though you can’t see it.
Its first recorded eruption was in 1939, when it broke the surface. It has erupted twelve times between 1939 and 2001.
The name was borrowed from a small island close by the volcano, but that Island has now been renamed “Diamond Rock”. The origins of the name “Kick’em Jenny” are obscure, but they may be related to the rough waters which locals say are common in the area. It’s also possible that the “rough waters” description is related to previous eruptions.
The area around the volcano is constantly monitored by the University of the West Indies. The University also patrols the shipping exclusion zone, which extends outwards from the seamount 1.5 to 5 kilometers, depending on the seismic data.
When I asked, locally, why the permanent exclusion zone was necessary, I was told ships sank there.
Curiosity piqued – it sounded like the Bermuda Triangle, albeit a bit far south – I dug further. Apparently, Kick’em Jenny often spews gases up through the water – the peak is only 185m below the surface. Those gases lower the water density and, in some cases, that lower density cannot support ships. If you remember your physics from school, sufficient water density is the only reason ships float at all. Lower the density sufficiently, and they sink. In some cases, very quickly.
Kick’em Jenny is part of a submarine mountain range, which also includes “Kick’em Jack” and four other, smaller, seamounts.
Next time you go sailing in the idyllic waters of the Grenadines, you might want to pay attention to the University of the West Indies seismic reports. If they say the exclusion zone is currently at 5 kilometers, look for plumes of smoke, and stay well out of the way. Even the Caribbean can be a dangerous place.