This week a team of scientists and technicians from the Carnegie Institution of Washington and the UNAVCO consortium are visiting MVO as part of their work for the Caribbean Andesitic Lava Island Precision Seismo-geodetic Observatory (CALIPSO) project. Funded by the National Science Foundation since 2002, CALIPSO adds to MVO’s monitoring network with strainmeters and Global Positioning System (GPS) instruments at 4 locations around the volcano. MVO works collaboratively with multiple institutions through CALIPSO to maintain the equipment and to process and store the data. The CALIPSO team is here this week to conduct routine maintenance work on the equipment. Additionally, UNAVCO personnel are here to assist in installing two new GPS stations which will be operated collaboratively.
Strainmeters are highly-sensitive instruments that are usually installed in deep holes - about 200 metres underground - to measure strain. Strain is the measure of the expansion or contraction of rock. This can result from pressure changes due to the movement of magma or gas underground. When pressure builds up, the ground around the volcano can get squashed or expand. Strain measurements contribute to our understanding of the volcano’s activity by recording the underground changes at several different locations. Other deformation monitoring techniques such as GPS and Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) show how the volcano changes on the surface.
Pictured above is the station at Olveston, which houses a strainmeter, GPS device, and seismometer.