Montserrat Volcano Observatory

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Montserrat Volcano Observatory
2007 view of the Soufrière Hills volcano
2009 satellite view of the island of Montserrat from the northeast looking southwest, showing an ash and steam plume from the Soufrière Hills volcano

The Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) is a volcano observatory which is located on the Caribbean island of Montserrat, where the Soufrière Hills volcano (SHV) has been actively erupting since 1995.

The MVO staff describe their activities as working to reduce the impact of volcanic activity by monitoring, researching, educating, and advising.[1]

The MVO building is situated in the village of Flemmings, in the parish of St. Peter, in the northern part of the island.

Reaction to the 1995 outbreaks[edit]

The volcanologists monitoring and researching the volcanic activities on Montserrat came under immense political pressure to provide suitable advice after the first outbreak.[1] The eruptions have been deemed a classical example of the black swan problem[2] as a high-profile, hard-to-predict, and rare event which provided major challenges for the prediction of further developments. Until 1995, the volcano had been silent for centuries.

After some difficulties, the involved scientists began to use statistical models to estimate the probabilities of particular events, a rather subjective method, but suitable to build up experience-based expertise (including local knowledge and experience) step by step.[1] A 2012 study about knowledge generation and expert advice on active volcanoes used the Montserrat eruption as a showcase, but included as well interviews with scientists in the United Kingdom, Montserrat, Italy and Iceland during fieldwork seasons.[1] It listed the Montserrat case among other recent and historical eruptions that had an influence on volcanology as a science.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Amy Donovan, Clive Oppenheimer, Michael Bravo. Social studies of volcanology: knowledge generation and expert advice on active volcanoes. Bulletin of Volcanology, Springer Verlag (Germany), 2012, 74 (3), pp.677-689. doi:<10.1007/s00445-011-0547-z insu-00691620
  2. ^ Donovan et al. (2012) cite Taleb NN (2007) The black swan: the impact of the highly improbable. Allen Lane, London

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 16°44′55″N 62°12′46″W / 16.748686°N 62.212784°W / 16.748686; -62.212784