Above: St Lucia
By the Caribbean Journal staff
A new project in St Lucia is aiming to better understand the impact volcanoes have on their local environments.
The project, led by the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, primarily looks to “gain a better understanding of volcanic emissions or gases at the Soufriere volcano and the potential impact on environmental and human health,” according to the country’s government.
Over a period of eight months, the new network will monitor potentially harmful volcanic gases at Soufriere, and will also work to train locals in the application of low-cost, low-technology monitoring techniques developed by the University of the West Indies Department of Chemistry in St Augustine, Trinidad.
The project will be the first of its kind in the Caribbean; similar ones have been established in Hawaii and Reunion Island.
“The involvement of the community through the training is an important component of the project as it will improve and expand our capacity to provide volcanic monitoring of gases beyond the life of the project,” said Dr Erouscilla Joseph, a volcanologist at the UWI Seismic Research Centre and principal investigator on the project.
The ultimate goal is for the project to be used as a model for other volcanic islands in the Caribbean region.
It is being funded by the The UWI Trinidad and Tobago Research and Development Impact Fund, with partners including the Montserrat Volcano Observatory and the St Lucia National Emergency Management Organization, among others.