Quill – a dormant ash-volcano

The Quill is unique in the region as a perfect example of an ash volcano. The last eruption of The Quill was prehistoric and occurred before settlement of the island by Salidoid Indians, probably 1550 years before present. The unique form took shape during the final acts of the last period of volcanic activity when there was no lava-flow, but molten rock was exploded out of the volcano by gasses under high pressure. the entire top, crater, slopes and base of The Quill are covered with loose material. The largest blocks are lying on the edge and on the bottom of the crater. Lower on the slopes the material gets finer and the plain is covered for the greater part by volcanic ash, resulting in rich and fertile agricultural land. Six water wells recently drilled around its base have revealed heated groundwater, measuring up to 70oC, giving The Quill it’s dormant status.

On the south side of The Quill, there are two areas of sedimentary rock, which recline against the slope of the volcano. White Wall (270M – and protected by the National Park) and Sugar Loaf (73m) are made from limestone (ancient coral reef) and some volcanic material. The limestone was originally formed at the bottom of a prehistoric shallow sea. The slabs were forced upwards during a volcanically active phase and were turned over to an angle of 40 degrees by a plug of lava (now hardened). White Wall and Sugar Loaf were created between 21,000 and 70,000 years ago.

The Quill National Park

Activities within the National Park commenced in 1998 when the Island Government mandated STENAPA to manage the Park, and the first Management Plan produced in 1999.

Quill Trails

Main Quill Trail: Length – 2-3 hours, Difficulty – Moderate

Crater Trail: Length – 1.5-2 hours, Difficulty – Moderate/Difficult

Panorama Point Trail: Length – 1-2 hours, Difficulty – Difficult

Mazinga Trail: Length – 2-3 hours from crater rim, Difficulty – Difficult in parts

Around the Mountain South Trail: Length – 2-5 hours, Difficulty – Moderate

Around the Mountain South Trail: Length – 2.5-3.5 hours, Difficulty – Moderate

Bird and Botanical Garden Trail: Length – 1 hours, Difficulty – Easy

Nature on The Quill

We share the above excerpts from ‘The hiker’s guide to the Quill/Boven National Park, St. Eustatius’ (only $2 at the STENAPA Office).