KINGSTON, Jamaica, Mar. 3, (CMC) – A US-based Geoscientist has started working with the Earthquake Unit of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus, to establish a network across the country to allow persons to have greater access to information regarding earthquakes.
Dr. Katherine Kelly Ellins, a Jamaican, is the Program Director of Outreach and Diversity in the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas.
Dr. Ellins, a researcher at the university for the past 15 years, is currently in Jamaica for six months, as a Fulbright Core Scholar, based at the UWI’s Department of Geography, Geology and the Earthquake Unit.
While here, she will be coordinating the establishment of the Jamaica Educational Seismic Network (JAESN) and making connections between JAESN and the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS).
She will also be reaching out to schools to be a part of the project and assisting with the set-up of the project.
When the network becomes operational, she, along with her team, will assist in teaching students and teachers how to use the equipment.
Dr. Ellins explains, that her work will enhance the capabilities that the Earthquake Unit has, while serving to educate and encourage students to become interested in seismic hazards.
“The project will be a useful vehicle for teaching certain concepts that students need to learn in Physics and in Math, and the technology that goes with it,” she said.
She believes, that the students will be excited about learning some of these concepts in the core subjects through the project, and that they will also get exposed to much internet technology and computational applications.
The machines placed in schools will not be able to predict earthquakes; however, they will allow students to be able to measure the earthquakes felt around the world. This, she says, is not in an effort to replace the system that the Earthquake Unit currently has, but to promote awareness at the local level.
The Geoscientist says, that the aim is for schools and students to involve their communities, so that there can be a better understanding of what is going on.
Students will be able to download a picture of the actual seismogram, which is the record of an earthquake that is recorded in the stations .
“If an earthquake occurs in another country, Jamaicans can check and report directly from their own station’s recording, instead of trying to get the information from the Earthquake Unit or from an international source.”
Dr. Ellins and her team will assist in the set up and training for the use of the apparatus.