Equipment, like the Volcano 'spider,' are used to monitor earthquake and volcanic activity

Equipment, like the Volcano ‘spider,’ are used to monitor earthquake and volcanic activity

An Education Officer from the Trinidad-base Seismic Research Center is pleading with the public to stop vandalizing equipment used for monitoring earthquakes and volcanic activity after a station was destroyed in the Valley of Desolation.

According to Stacey Edwards when equipment are tampered with or destroyed, the entire country is at risk.

She told a workshop on Monday that although equipment tampering is a problem in Dominica, it is not unique to the island.

“In general we find that tampering with the monitoring equipment is a problem with the islands including Dominica,” she said. “One of the cases we wanted to highlight in Dominica was the station that is at the entrance of the valley of Desolation that was seriously vandalized. The station does not exist; the solar panels were removed, the station was destroyed.”

Edwards said these stations which are extremely costly and are critical in the monitoring earthquakes and volcanic activities.

“The seismic stations are critical for us in monitoring volcanoes and it can be used to see if there are any earthquakes occurring around the volcanoes because many times these earthquakes are not felt and this increase activity around the volcano is a sign that the volcano may be erupting,” she noted.

She said if equipment are tampered with then those monitoring them will not know what is happening.

“This means we have no eyes and ears on the volcanoes and it puts the public at risk,” she stated.

She said any information received in terms of changes in volcanic activity from the monitoring equipment is immediately communicated to the Office of Disaster Management, “but again if people tamper with this equipment we are unable to do our jobs efficiently and it puts Dominicans at risk”.

She said there is no way of keeping an eye on the equipment since they are in remote locations.

“There is no way of monitoring this equipment, the equipment is in remote areas on most parts,” Edwards pointed out. “We try to put the equipment inconspicuous areas where people may not know where they are but it would be tedious to assign someone the task of monitoring all of this equipment. Some of the equipment is in the Valley of Desolation areas that are not inaccessible but difficult to get to”.

She once again called upon the support and corporation of the citizenry to leave the equipment alone.

She mentioned that they are now all labeled ‘Seismic Research Center for monitoring earthquakes and volcanoes do not tamper with this equipment’.

Edwards stated that vandalism of equipment has occurred more than once in Dominica..

“So we urge the public for their own safety do not tamper with the equipment,” she said.