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Montserrat Volcano Observatory Renews Contract with The UWI For Monitoring and Research

For Release Upon Receipt - Monday, October 10, 2016

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has entered a renewed contract with the Government of Montserrat to provide management and support for the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) which conducts monitoring and research activities on the Soufriere Hills Volcano.

The new monitoring contract runs for five years and was signed on September 13, 2016 by Professor Dale Webber, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Graduate Studies and Research at The UWI and by Her Excellency, Elizabeth Anne Carriere OBE, and Governorof Montserrat.

Montserrat’s Soufrière Hills Volcano has been erupting since 1995, rendering more than half of the island uninhabitable, including the capital city Plymouth. Since the onset of the eruption, the volcano has been closely monitored and heavily researched. Through careful management and implementation of volcano risk reduction strategies, Montserrat has managed to rebuild itself and adapt to living with an erupting volcano.

The UWI, through its Trinidad and Tobago-based Seismic Research Centre has been contracted to provide six scientific staff members (including the Director) to work at MVO. It will also provide support services and updates to the MVO’s monitoring equipment, including a complete replacement of the seismic monitoring network. The UWI has also been tasked to develop training courses which will be based at MVO and will continue to facilitate research at this live laboratory to better understand how volcanic systems function in Montserrat and by extension the wider Eastern Caribbean.

Speaking on the partnership, Professor Webber said “I am very pleased that the Government of Montserrat has decided to renew this contract. It shows that The UWI can provide world-class scientists and world-class science to deliver a service that is crucial in the ongoing development of Montserrat”.

Governor Carriere said “The Seismic Research Centre has been managing and supporting Montserrat Volcano Observatory since 2008. In that time, they and the MVO have provided excellent information and advice to successive Governors and to the government and the people of Montserrat. This contract serves as recognition of the outstanding quality of the work carried out by the observatory and the staff there and of the need for that work to continue in the future”.

During his trip to Montserrat, Professor Webber visited the MVO and toured the former capital city of Plymouth. Professor Webber is the highest ranking UWI official to visit Montserrat since the University began management of the MVO and his presence demonstrates the University’s commitment to ensuring that its activities have meaningful impact on the people it serves.


Her Excellency the Governor Elizabeth Carriere and Pro Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Dale Webber sign the new MVO management contract. Photo: Jerely Brown/MVO.


Dr Richard Robertson (left) and Pro Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Dale Webber inspect the buried and abandoned city of Plymouth at the foot of the Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat. Photo: Roderick Stewart/MVO.


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