Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 8th 2018 Contents 18 UWI TODAY -- SUNDAY 8 APRIL, 2018
Deep Sea Wonders
of the Caribbean
KICK 'EM JENNY
becomes a Model
BY STACEY EDWARDS
Late last month Kick-'em-Jenny volcano grew restless.
A signi cant increase in earthquakes beneath the volcano
suggested to monitoring scientists at e UWI's Seismic
Research Centre (SRC) that magma was likely on the move.
Acting on their advice, authorities in Grenada raised the
volcano's alert level to orange. is was an indication that
an eruption could occur with less than 24 hours' notice. e
barrage of public enquiries which followed was as ery as
the impending eruption.
Erupting at least 14 times since it was rst discovered
in 1939, the submarine (underwater) volcano located just
8km north of Grenada, is perhaps the most active volcano in
the Eastern Caribbean. It is no wonder that public concern
over Kick-'em-Jenny is consistently intense. Judging from
interactions on the SRC's social media platforms during
periods of volcanic unrest, the public appears to be both
fearful of and fascinated by this underwater phenomenon,
with concerns ranging from ejected material at the sea
surface, sinking ships and tsunamis.
While the primary role of the SRC is to monitor and
provide scienti c advice on Kick-'em-Jenny, the Centre
supports local disaster management agencies' e orts to
satisfy the public's insatiable appetite for information on the
volcano through its education and outreach programme.
It is a sound illustration of the importance of applied
research and the social impact of academic and research
institutions such as e UWI.
e UWI SRC currently operates the largest geophysical
monitoring network in the Caribbean, generating data
used in ongoing research to provide planners, disaster
management practitioners, engineers and other stakeholders
with tools for their short and long-term decision-making.
Scientists from the SRC regularly collaborate with
other institutions to conduct impactful research on issues of
seismic and geologic relevance to our region. Volcanologists
at the SRC teamed up with scientists at Imperial College
London, Southampton and Liverpool Universities to
survey Kick-'em-Jenny immediately following an eruption
in April 2017. Using ship-based imaging technology, the
team was able to survey the volcano, observing gas coming
from the central cone . e data was then combined with
previous surveys going back more than 30 years to reveal
the long-term pattern of activity. e survey was unique
in that it immediately followed an eruption and provided
unprecedented data on what Kick-'em-Jenny volcano looks
like soon a er an eruption. e research, recently published
in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems,
provides new insight into the little-studied world of
" e results of this collaborative research project enable
us to better quantify our existing model of this volcano and
help in developing strategies for managing future eruptions,"
noted Director of e UWI SRC, Prof. Richard Robertson.
In addition to conducting research, the UWI
SRC currently provides a national seismological and
volcanological service for contributing territories in the
Eastern Caribbean, as well as support for tsunami warning
and public education and awareness on geologic hazards.
Although the outcome of Kick-'em-Jenny's recent episode
remains to be seen -- at the time of writing, activity at the
volcano had slowed -- e UWI SRC is well poised to provide
its stakeholders with the necessary information to reduce
the risk to lives and livelihoods.
In 2013 and 2014, Dr. Judith Gobin, a Senior Lecturer
in the Department of Life Sciences at e UWI, St.
Augustine, was invited on board the Exploration
Vessel (E/V) Nautilus. She was determined to share
what she had learned to build a deeper understanding
and appreciation of the deep sea environment in the
region. is led to the introduction and distribution of
an educational video series and captioned photo book
detailing this previously unexplored natural feature.
In February 2018, the National Institute of
Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology
(NIHERST) o cially launched the Deep Sea Wonders
of the Caribbean video series and book at the Digicel
NIHERST's Chairman, Professor Emeritus
Winston Mellowes acknowledged the Caribbean
scientists involved whose research and efforts
"permanently changed our understanding of the Deep
Sea." He thought it would encourage young Caribbean
students to consider a future in science and related
elds, since they would be proud to know "that there
are many experts/icons from this region, who look
like us, talk like us, and share our experiences, who
can excel and make their mark in the international
e feature address was delivered by Minister
of Education, Anthony Garcia, who highlighted the
importance of Marine Sciences as a discipline, stating
that it will give "students the opportunity to see where
this eld of study can take them."
Dr. Gobin thanked all who were involved
in ensuring that the project was successful and
encouraged those present to "ponder on management
of this tremendous resource" since it is our heritage.
She said it was her duty as a scientist to encourage
stakeholders to partner with scientists, which would
allow conversations and strategies focused on ensuring
the sustainability and conservations of our ecosystems.
ere was a rst screening of the ve-part video
documentary series and the photo book on the Deep
Sea Wonders of the Caribbean, which comprises the
1. Exploring the Deep Wilderness
An introduction to deep-sea exploration
in the Caribbean
2. Beyond the Beaches
Our Caribbean's deep-sea environment
and how organisms there have adapted
3. Hot Sun Above, Cold Seeps Below
A unique look into Trinidad and Tobago's
4. Grenada and the Jenny that Kicks
A unique look into Grenada's deep ocean
5. An Ocean of Opportunities
Careers of the deep sea
DEM Image of Kick-em-Jenny submarine volcano.
COURTESY: DR. FREDERIC DONDIN, NAUTILUS 2013
Scientists discuss ndings during Nautilus Research Vessel. Research cruises provide valuable information on activity,
dimensions and marine life at submarine volcanoes.
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