Monitoring volcanic activity at the Soufrière Volcano - A model for volcano monitoring operations in small-island nations




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Since its devastating eruption in 1902, the Soufri􁪽re volcano of St. Vincent has been kept under surveillance by a varied assemblage of local individuals and overseas-based scientists. The establishment of the Seismic Research Unit in 1952 led to the development of a sustained program of volcano monitoring that has evolved in response to changing conditions at the volcano and to improvements in technology. The volcano monitoring program in St. Vincent currently comprises two components: a small locally staffed volcano monitoring unit and a regionally based scientific organisation. Funding is provided by the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines through contributions made to the regional organisation and as recurrent expenditure for the operations of the local unit. The monitoring program has worked well in the past and can serve as a model for regions similar to the Eastern Caribbean in which small island nations with limited resources are exposed to a volcanic hazard. This paper traces the development of volcano monitoring operations on St. Vincent and provides an overview of its current composition. It makes a case for the St. Vincent model to be used as a template for similar operations in other islands that may require a similar level of surveillance at their volcanic centre.

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Soufrire volcano, St. Vincent, Volcano monitoring, Volcanic hazards