Photo of the growing soufriere Hills Volcano lava dome taken 31 May 2003
Click here for a high resolution photograph.
A unique monitoring system in place on the island of Montserrat can record the everyday changes beneath the Soufriere Hills volcano and throughout the island, according to an international team of volcanologists.
The CALIPSO project (Caribbean Andesite Lava Island Precision Seismo-geodetic Observatory) is the first volcano monitoring system of its type installed at an andesitic volcano. Andesite volcanoes are the most important volcano type making up the Earth’s Ring of Fire, and have caused more fatalities than any other type of volcano. Intended to improve the understanding of how these volcanos erupt, the system investigates the dynamics of the entire magma system below the island.
"We had the system working just in time for the largest lava dome collapse ever seen anywhere," says Dr. Barry Voight, professor of geosciences at Penn State. "Montserrat is the only place where such an array of monitoring tools, including strain meters, surround the volcano," he told attendees at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Conference today (Dec. 16) in San Francisco.
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