Basseterre, St. Kitts, Nov 16, 2023 (ZIZ Newsroom): The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is collaborating with the UWI Seismic Research Center to conduct critical maintenance and upgrade services on the seismic network in the Federation.
A team from the research center made up of Chief Engineering Technician, Ian Juman and Research Fellow for Instrumentation, Lloyd Lynch are on the island conducting the maintenance and upgrade.
ZIZ News cameras caught the team at the Dieppe Bay Police station on Wednesday (November 15, 2023) where they were upgrading the seismic sensors.
Mr. Lynch explained that the sensors are used to monitor earthquake activity that is associated with volcanoes.
“Every time a volcano becomes restless and is about to erupt, it sends new stuff, new molten material, into the subsurface, and that causes a small amount of swelling. It’s not discernible to the eyes, but high-precision instruments like GPS receivers can detect such swelling. Also, when the molten material is coming up in renewal of volcanic activity, the molten material break rocks and give rise to small earthquakes, which sends elastic waves outwards. And these can be picked up by the instrumentation that we are putting down there.”
He noted that these seismic sensors are placed in key locations around the volcanoes in St. Kitts and Nevis which helps to track magmatic material.
“We have one here at Dieppe Bay, there’s one at Bayfords, there’s another at Brimstone Hill, there’s one out at Turtle Beach and there are two on Nevis. So, the seismic waves propagate outwards and they’ll reach each station at different times and knowing the velocity or speed of propagation of the waves, we can triangulate and know the depth at which the rock breaking is taking place. So, you can track the ascent of magmatic material.”
Mr. Lynch described these new sensors as state-of-the-art, noting that they are able to digitize the data and send it out in real-time to the center in Trinidad.
“These new instruments, which are you could say state of the art, they can sense ground motion in three dimensions, East-West, North-South and up-down compared to the earlier instruments which only sense ground motion in an up-down direction. The other difference with these instruments is that they are totally digital, so the sensor has a digitizer which converts the information and sends it out in real time on cable and internet to Trinidad.”
The team will be wrapping up the maintenance and upgrade of these seismic sensors by the end of this week.