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UWI Volcanologists receive equipment from USGS-USAID VDAP to reinforce monitoring capacity at La Soufrière

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UWI Volcanologists receive equipment from USGS-USAID VDAP

to reinforce monitoring capacity at La Soufrière

The UWI St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago. Friday, February 12, 2021. —The scientific team at The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC) has increased its capacity to bolster seismic monitoring of La Soufriere Volcano in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) through a recent donation of seismic stations and telemetry equipment from the USGS-USAID Volcano Disaster Assistance Programme (VDAP).

The donated equipment will be used to build four seismic stations and radios to enhance communications on the island. Three of the stations are solar powered installations with posthole seismometers, which are sensors designed for subsurface installation to optimise seismic performance while minimising the cost and logistics of site setup. The fourth station is a spider seismometer—a device designed for rapid deployment in high risk locations where human exposure to hazards should be minimised e.g. volcanic craters. USGS-USAID VDAP committed the donation after receiving a request from UWI-SRC following the effusive eruption, which was first detected on December 29, 2020.

“This equipment is needed as it allows us to densify the seismic network by placing them in locations where there are significant gaps and the spider seismometer will fortify the near crater monitoring,” said UWI-SRC Instrumentation Engineer, Lloyd Lynch.  In the event of escalated volcanic activity at La Soufriere, enhanced monitoring should allow our scientists to alert authorities with sufficient time to activate appropriate emergency responses such as evacuations.

Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr The Honourable Ralph Gonsalves expressed his thanks to the UGSG VDAP and The UWI-SRC stating, “The partnership between Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) is vital in the monitoring of the La Soufriere volcano; the SRC is a tribute to our Caribbean civilisation.  The contribution of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and its Volcano Disaster Assistance Programme (VDAP) to the work of the SRC in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is generous and deeply appreciated by our government and people.  Multilateral support across countries in every area of human endeavour is the way forward for humanity’s further upliftment. Thanks again to USGS, VDAP, and SRC! We love you!”

The UWI-SRC in partnership with the SVG National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) continues to enhance the monitoring of the La Soufrière volcano and actively seeks partnerships to bolster not only the various networks but to engage in data collection and sharing to better understand the current activity and plan for any scenario.

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La Soufriere's Summit

Photo Caption: The Scientific team in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines led by UWI-SRC Volcanologist, Dr Thomas Christopher installing and adjusting equipment and taking gas samples at La Soufrière’s summit.

For updates on actiity at La Soufriere Volcano in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, follow The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC) on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/uwiseismic and on Twitter: http://twitter.com/uwiseismic    

About The UWI Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC)

The Seismic Research Centre was set up in 1953 and became part of The UWI in 1962. From its headquarters in Trinidad, it operates a volcano and earthquake monitoring network throughout the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean islands extending from St. Kitts & Nevis to Trinidad &Tobago. The UWI-SRC is responsible for monitoring earthquake and volcanic activity in these islands.  The region in which these countries are located is seismically active and historically has been the site of earthquakes of magnitude greater than 8.0. There are at least 19 live volcanoes in the region, which have been the sites of numerous eruptions, most recently in Montserrat (1995-present), Dominica (1997, phreatic) and Saint. Vincent & the Grenadines (2020-present). The UWI-SRC currently manages the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), which is responsible for monitoring the on-going eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano.

About the USGS-USAID Volcano Disaster Assistance Programme (VDAP)

The VDAP was formed in 1986 in response to the devastating volcanic mudflow triggered by an eruption of Nevado del Ruiz volcano. Since 1986, team members have responded to more than 70 volcanic crises at over 50 volcanoes worldwide and have strengthened response capacity in 12 countries. Based out of the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington (USA), the group consists of approximately 20 geologists, geophysicists, and engineers. Its guiding philosophy is to assist foreign partners in volcano monitoring and empower them to take the lead in mitigating hazards at their country's threatening volcanoes.

About The UWI

For over 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); The UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies; the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ); The UWI-University of Havana Centre for Sustainable Development; The UWI-Coventry Institute for Industry-Academic Partnership with the University of Coventry and the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research with the University of Glasgow.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. 

As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. The world’s most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, has ranked The UWI among the top 600 universities in the world for 2019 and 2020, and the 40 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2018 and 2019, then top 20 in 2020. The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit www.uwi.edu.

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)