The Ministry of Mines and Energy in recent years has increased its monitoring activities on the inhabited Savo volcano. Residents on the island first reported abnormal events to the authorities in 2021. Seismic activity has been continuing inconsistently ever since. With support from the World Bank, three monitoring stations have been installed to monitor the volcanic activities. Permanent Secretary, Dr. Chris Vehe said the Ministry of Mines and Energy is keeping a close eye on the Savo volcano through its monitoring stations. However he said the earthquakes and tremors felt recently in the country are not developed locally but regionally. “Most of the earthquakes that we felt are from the regional tectonics”, Vehe said.
At the same time, Vehe said having monitoring stations is very crucial for the work of the seismology unit. He said frequent seismology events are signs that tectonic plates are moving. “Luckily for us, the Ontong Java plateau is providing some stability for us”. The Ontong Java plateau is a massive oceanic plateau located north of the country. About 80 percent of the plateau is subducted under the country. Vehe said having stations to monitor seismic activities will greatly assist the government to protect its people from geo hazards such as earthquakes and volcanoes. He said having preparedness plans in place are of paramount importance at this time of uncertainty. “We cannot predict an earthquake but we can be able to get consistent data on movement of tectonic plates. For a volcano, we can alert people based on the different signs and symptoms that it gives out”. Vehe said he doesn’t want to cause panic among people but it is always best to stay prepared. He said geohazards are a threat to national security and the least his Ministry can do is to strengthen its monitoring activities.
*This story was first aired in April 2023