St Lucia Begins Research Project to Study Volcanic Hazards

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - January 22, 2015

Above: the Soufriere volcano in St Lucia (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The Caribbean, particularly the Eastern Caribbean, is full of active and dormant volcanoes, some of which still emit gases into the atmosphere.

But do those gases poses any threat to nearby areas?

St Lucia has begun an innovative research project aiming to answer that question by measuring the ambient concentration of sulphur dioxide at the island’s Sulphur Springs.

The study aims to measure the concentration and seeks to monitor and measure potentially harmful volcanic gases in the atmosphere, according to the government.

“Such novel initiatives can strengthen local and regional capacities to reduce the cost and impact of disasters through enhanced preparedness by the application of low cost technology in some of our very vulnerable communities,” said Velda Joseph, acting director of St Lucia’s National Emergency Management Organization.

The project’s implementation has been done primarily by a team of researchers at the Seismic Research Centre in Trinidad.

“While coming here to monitor the volcano and speaking to the residents and visitors of the park, we became aware of their concerns about the emissions and the health effects, if any,” said Dr Eroucilla Joseph, Research Fellow of Volcanology at the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre. “so it became one of my interests to engage in a study that analyzed the ambient concentrations of the gases.”

The project is being funded by the University of the West Indies Research and Impact Fund.

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