International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
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Newsletter for Latin America and the Caribbean        Inssue No. 15, 1999


The Montserrat Volcanic Observatory

The Montserrat Volcanic Observatory was established immediately after the first phreatic eruption of Soufriere Hills volcano on 18 July 1995. Scientists from a great number of institutions have worked closely with local staff. At first, they came mostly from the Seismic Research Unit of the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and from the British Geological Survey (BGS) bureau. Valuable assistance was also provided by the Assistance Programme for Geological Surveying in the Event of Volcanic Disasters, the University of Puerto Rico, the Physics Institute of the Paris Globe (Guadaloupe and Martinique Volcanic Observatories), and by scholars from various British and American universities.

In August 1999, the Montserrat Volcanic Observatory became a legally established government entity; a director was appointed with full powers to handle scientific and administrative matters. Two scientists from overseas are permanently posted, but the majority of technical staff are natives of Montserrat. In addition, three students from the island are studying geology, geophysics and computer science at the University of the West Indies and two British universities.

It is the duty of the Observatory to advice civilian authorities on volcanic activity and associated hazards. The institution is chiefly financed by the government of Montserrat and the British government.

Currently, the Observatory’s location is Mongo Hill in Northern Montserrat. It moved there when volcanic activity was at its height in September 1997. In the near future, the Observatory will be relocated permanently in Fleming, closer to the volcano.

For more information, please contact:
Montserrat Volcanic Observatory
Mongo Hill, Montserrat, West Indies
Tel (664) 491-5647 Fax (664) 491-2423