Grenada upgrades seismic systems

Acting Director of NaDMA Terrence Walters

Acting Director of NaDMA Terrence Walters

A series of seismic systems upgrades have been undertaken this week at monitoring stations at Marli in St. Patrick’s and on the sister isle of Carriacou as the country moves to improve its ability to closely monitor activities at the Kick Em Jenny underwater volcano.

According to Acting Director of the National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA), Terrence Walters, the new state-of-the-art equipment have been installed during a weekend operation carried out by NaDMA and the Trinidad-based Seismic Research Centre (SRC) of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

Walters, who was addressing the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing Tuesday also disclosed that officials from the SRC are currently setting up monitoring devices in key locations, so as to have an idea of the behaviour of Kick em Jenny.

“On Sunday the Grenada Coast Guard transported a team from seismic and from NaDMA and other volunteers to upgrade the monitoring equipment at Sisters – two small islands to the north of Grenada…they have also upgraded the Marli Center and they are working today (Tuesday) at upgrading monitoring equipment at Mt. St. Catherine,” he said.

Mt. St. Catherine is a stratovolcano and the highest mountain located almost in middle of the island.

Walters praised SRC for the installation and upgrade of the monitoring equipment, which was deemed “successful” so far and for the support during last week’s situation relating to the Kick em Jenny under water volcano.

The nation went into a state of panic when media houses throughout the region were reporting that Kick em Jenny was on the verge of erupting.

Scientists at SRC had issued an orange alert which applied only to marine traffic around the coordinates of the submarine volcano, following an upsurge last week Thursday, for the first time since 2001 – the 12th eruption since 1939.

An orange alert means that the submarine has reached a “highly elevated level of seismic and/or fumarolic activity or other unusual activity” and that “Eruption may begin with less than twenty-four hours notice.”

NaDMA was forced into action to assure the nation that the eruptions at Kick em Jenny posed no serious threat to the island.

This newspaper understands that Volcanologist, Dr. Frederic Dondie, from the SRC, who has conducted extensive research on Kick em-Jenny, concluded, after his observations, that there was “absolutely nothing unusual in the area.”

Walters along with others including Dr. Dondie participated in a flyover of the sub-marine volcano last Saturday and it was concluded that the sub-marine volcano “is now quiet and that the alert level has returned to yellow”.

In seismic language this means that the “volcano is restless: seismicity and/or fumarolic activity are above the historical level or other unusual activity has been observed or can be expected without warning.”

Walters said the SRC has reported that the activity levels have been reduced significantly over the last 48 hours with no activity recorded since late Saturday.

However, he noted that the marine community is being advised to continue observing the 5-kilometers exclusion zone from the volcano, located 8 kilometers to the north of Grenada.

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