|These classes conducted a two-week field
study on the island of Montserrat in January 2005. The island of
Montserrat has three volcanic centers with one, the Soufriere Hills,
currently in eruption. The island has suffered several major eruptions
since 1996, including the last major activity in July 2003. The
eruptions have left the southern part of the island devastated and
resulted in the evacuation of Plymouth, the island's former capital
city. The economy has been destroyed and the population has dropped
from twelve thousand in the 1990s to four thousand today as a result of emigration.
Every year the rain brings down more debris from the mountain which
creates continued havoc on the island and has affected the main tourist
and agricultural area in the south. However, construction is booming
on the island currently and new schools, a hospital, an airport,
and government offices are now operating on the northwestern part
of the island. People are learning to live with a live volcano.
This program is an interdisciplinary blend of sociology and geology
in which the students are researching individual and collective
trauma and studying the geology of cataclysmic events. Students
conducted oral histories, ethnographic research, and stratigraphical
research on rocks from the Centre Hills, an older volcanic complex
immediately north of the active volcano. They also toured the Montserrat
Volcano Observatory to learn about volcano monitoring techniques
and were able to see the devastation wrought by the volcano firsthand
from the ground and from the air.
Focusing on the geological and sociological aspects of the island
and its community, this online resource center showcases student
research on the following topics: Aging, Employment and Occupations,
Gender, Housing, Infrastructure and Transportation, Youth, and
the Stratigraphy of the northwestern Centre Hills.
A note about copyright information: all photographs and information (unless otherwise noted) were taken and recorded by students or faculty members associated with the Disaster classes and are therefore coppyrights of Dickinson College. If there are any questions concerning the use of pictures or information please contact Ben Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This site was designed entirely by students of the Geology and Sociology of Disaster classes in the Spring of 2005; however, final internet preparations and design were completed by Alexander S. Lloyd and Ashley Haywood.