Scientists From Montserrat To Join SRC Team In St Vincent

(By Ernesto Cooke) – As effusive eruptions continue at La Soufriere volcano two scientists from Montserrat will join their colleagues in St Vincent.

In December 2020, Short wave infrared data from the European Space Agency (ESA) Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite identified a thermal anomaly in the La Soufrière volcano, indicating magma close to the surface.

Researchers with Earth Applied Sciences Disasters Program, a NASA department recently detected increased seismic activity at La Soufriere volcano, indicating there may be an imminent volcanic eruption.

The two scientists from the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) based at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) are Dr Thomas Christopher and Dr Adam Stinton.,

Thomas and Stinton will join the current team here in St. Vincent later this week. 

On Friday NEMO the National Emergency Management Organization said the dome that broke through the crater floor, on December 27, 2020, on the south-west perimeter of the existing dome, continues to grow within the crater of La Soufrière and has an ellipsoid shape with growth expanding in a westerly direction.

A NASA publication of January 8th 2021 said, the activation of EASDP would aid risk reduction efforts for a potential volcanic eruption, as they closely monitor the region. 

The scientists will gather data from the dome and crater through temperature and photogrammetry measurements and gas measurements using a MultiGAS and spectrometer.

Thomas did an undergraduate degree in geology at UWI Mona from 1997-2000 after which he came returned and worked at the MVO as a scientific assistant. 

He then went to the UK to do a PhD in Earth Sciences at St Catherine’s College, University of Cambridge.

Stinton is a volcanologist at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, Montserrat. 

Adam graduated from the University of Plymouth, the UK in 1999 with a degree in Environmental Geology. He attained a PhD in Volcanology from the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York in 2007.

Seismic data from the Wallibou station on St Vincent is already streaming into the Seismic Research Centre (SRC).

A webcam providing live feed was installed on January 3, 2021, at the Belmont Observatory. 

A second camera, at Georgetown, was successfully installed and Camera and weather station installations, at the summit, are still being pursued.

In its latest bulletin, the National Emenegevy Management Organization said The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is finalising helicopter support for the Seismic Research Centre (SRC) Team to install equipment and collect samples from the summit of the volcano.

The La Soufriere volcano’s alert level remains at Orange, and the National Emergency Management Organisation is reminding the public that no evacuation order or notice has been issued.

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