The Montserrat Volcano Observatory has launched a very attractive and useful refurbished website as part of their education and outreach efforts. The site has been redesigned “to allow for easier navigation, expanded information and a broader appeal to scientists and non-scientists with an interest in the volcano.” In addition to updates on volcanic activity, it offers information on the Caribbean’s “arc of fire” that includes the islands of Martinique, St. Vincent, Dominica, and St. Lucia. As Caribbean News explains “it is also envisioned that the new site will be used as a resource for educating the public on hazards, science, safety precautions and procedures in a clear and easy to read format.”
In July 1995, Montserrat’s Soufrière Hills volcano, which had been dormant through its recorded history, began an eruption that destroyed Plymouth, the island’s capital, burying it in around 40 feet of mud and volcanic debris. The island’s airport and port facilities were destroyed, and the southern half of the island had to be declared uninhabitable. As a result of the eruption, more than half of the population of the island had to be evacuated. Since Montserrat was a dependent territory of Great Britain, many went to the United Kingdom. Most have been unable to return home. A new airport opened and docking facilities opened in 2005 in Little Bay, where a new capital is being built. The people of Montserrat were granted full residency rights in the United Kingdom in 1998, and citizenship was granted in 2002.
Polly Pattullo’s excellent book Fire from the Mountain tells the story of the events and repercussions of the 1995 eruption.
See the new website at http://www.mvo.ms/
For the Caribbean News‘ short article on the new website see http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/news-15431–22-22–.html
For more on Polly Pattullo’s Fire from the Mountain go to http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storyCode=156143§ioncode=5
The image included above if from a USA Today report on an eruption of Soufrière Hills in 2007. To see the image in its original context go to http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-01-08-volcano_x.htm