Scientists from the leading Eastern Caribbean agency for volcano monitoring will continue to operate the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) after an interim two-year contract for management of the observatory has been agreed to between the Government of Montserrat and The UWI Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC).
The management contract is set to run until September 2023.This interim contract represents the continuation of a longstanding relationship with the government and people of Montserrat.
The UWI-SRC monitored the Soufrière Hills Volcano (SHV) prior to the start of the eruption in 1995. The agency also provided scientific support during the early stages of the eruption, before oversight of the management of the observatory transitioned to the British Geological Survey up until 2008. Since then, the MVO has been continuously managed by the UWI-SRC, including during its last major activity in 2010. Montserrat is also one of the UWI-SRC’s nine contributing territories.
Governor – and Joint Chair of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory Board – Andy Pearce was pleased at the news saying: “I, and the rest of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory Board, are pleased to have this contract in place ensuring continuity in the vital function of monitoring our still active volcano. The dedicated, professional experts at the MVO are critical to the disaster preparedness of our island, as the recent eruptions in Saint Vincent and La Palma have shown.
The MVO operation is at the leading edge of this area of science and has supported our neighbours in Saint Vincent during that eruption. We look forward to continuing to work with the MVO and the UK-government funded Scientific Advisory Council in the coming two years.”
The opportunity to serve the people of Montserrat and conduct scientific research on the “Emerald Isle” is a privilege not lost on UWI-SRC/MVO scientists and technicians. Dr. Erouscilla Joseph, Director at the UWI-SRC noted that “We are pleased to be given the opportunity to continue to build on the progress made at the MVO since 2008. The valuable contribution to the region made by the MVO was evidenced during the recent eruption of La Soufrière volcano in Saint Vincent, where MVO scientists made a significant contribution to management of the crisis.”
Under the contract, six UWI-SRC scientists are based full-time in Montserrat with UWI-SRC Volcanologist Dr. Graham Ryan, at the helm as MVO Director in charge of the day to day running of the observatory. He hopes that the partnerships formed with local and international colleagues will continue to bear fruit.
This latest vote of confidence in the UWI-SRC’s capacity to operate this regional centre for geo-science research is well appreciated. The UWI-SRC remains committed to providing quality service to those impacted by the Soufrière Hills Volcano.
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 St. Vincent & the Grenadines (2020-2021). The UWI-SRC currently manages the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), which is responsible for monitoring the on-going eruption of the Soufrière Hills Volcano. For more info visit www.uwiseismic.com or @uwiseismic (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).