UWI Seismic Research Centre Launches New Earthquake Tracking Project

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By the Caribbean Journal staff

The Trinidad-based University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre has received funding to strengthen its earthquake monitoring.

The funding will help a recently-launched project to install instruments “which will improve understanding of the effects of strong earthquakes in the region,” the centre said in a statement.

The installation will include 12 instruments funded by the Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility; it is part of a regional project aiming to set up a core network of “strong motion instruments in the Eastern Caribbean and Jamaica.”

The UWI Seismic Research Centre operates what is the largest seismograph network in the Caribbean, providing information on the location, depth and magnitude of earthquakes in the region.

The organization said that strong motion networks “take earthquake monitoring a step further,” by providing data on how intensely the ground shakes in an area for earthquakes above a certain magnitude and other information.

That information can then be used to retrofit or design buildings to withstand earthquakes under those parameters.

““There is no doubt that the region is vulnerable to earthquakes,” stated Mr. Lloyd Lynch, UWI-SRC Instrumentation Engineer and Principal Investigator on the project. “This strong motion network will provide greater understanding of how the ground responds to strong earthquakes and this information can then be used to create appropriate building codes and land use policies – measures that will reduce the effects of earthquakes in the region.”

The project has already been rolled out in Barbados, St Kitts and Nevis and the Grenadian island of Carriacou.

The UWI’s Earthquake Unit has already completed installations in Jamaica and launched installations in Dominica, with upcoming installations in St Vincent, Grenada, St Lucia and Antigua and Barbuda.

The plan is to ultimately extend a network of 100 strong motion instruments throughout the Eastern Caribbean and Jamaica.

 

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