Caribbean Underwater Volcanoes Captured on Camera
Robert Ballard is no stranger to new discoveries. His first big break came with the Titanic now he is doing it again. This time he is exploring fault lines and underwater volcanoes in the Northern and Eastern Caribbean, an underwater version of Tony Robinson of Channel 4 ‘Time Team’!
To most of us, plate tectonics, volcanoes and fault lines mean nada, however to Ballard’s team of 31 scientists this will mean getting to grips with the underwater threats to the Caribbean region.
How does this affect us? If we are planning on building or buying beachfront property, or any property that is close to the water’s edge, we need to make sure that there is sufficient elevation between the property and the sea, in the event of an underwater volcano causing a tsunami.
In mapping the underwater tectonics and better understanding them, the ultimate result is the improvement of our responsiveness to these natural disasters when, and not if, they happen.
This $3 million dollar mission will see the scientists using robot submarines for the mapping and recording of volcanoes and fault lines from Puerto Rico to the US Virgin Islands. They will move south then to Montserrat and Dominica, and no volcanic mission in the Caribbean would be deemed a complete success without a visit to Kick em’ Jenny which lays off the northern shores of Grenada!
In the first part of this expedition, researchers will explore Puerto Rico’s north coast, where in October 1918 an earthquake (7.2 magnitudes) killed 116 people and triggered a tsunami of 6 meter waves!
“It’s a pretty serious thing we’re looking at … The Puerto Rico trench can generate very large and powerful earthquakes” Ballard told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Connecticut.
The Mona Rift and passage, which lies between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, will be dived by ROV Nautilus to visualise on camera, the fault lines that lie at 10,000 feet and deeper. These faults include the renowned Septentrional, which scientist say is an unusual circular depression not found in any other major strike-slip faults the world over!
“The information collected will help seismologists understand what’s happening along those faults and help them manage future natural disasters”, said Dwight Coleman, oceanographer and leader of the expedition focussing on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Following this, attempts will be made by the group to locate the origin of an earthquake (7.5 magnitude) which caused destructive tsunamis on St. Thomas and St. Croix and BVI in October 1867.
Offshore Montserrat and Dominica will be investigated next. Much has been written and known about recent volcanic activity on Monserrat, but Dominica is not so well known. It has been the site of some of the largest explosive eruptions in the Lesser Antilles and has recently been the focus of some intense earthquake activity. The team intend to learn a little more about what is going on the western underwater flanks of Dominica.
The expedition will end with a visit to ‘Kick em’ Jenny off the north side of Grenada – the first expedition in 10 years. Investigations will include Kick em Jack and three smaller growing cones that are forming close by.
Overall, we should have a very good understanding of this Caribbean archipelago’s most notorious and least discovered threats. Underwater volcanos and tectonic plate movements, which trigger earthquakes and tsunamis are highly destructive to these small, vulnerable, highly-populated islands!
Beach front land for sale for building in the BVI, with an upper level build position invulnerable to tsunami!
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