This strictly educational website montserratvolcano.org is NOTHING AT ALL TO DO with the official website of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. I started it in 2007/8 as somewhere the island residents could go to, if they wanted more detail, many more pictures and a much more "chatty" style of writing than the "official" site. It assumes no geological knowledge whatsoever and constantly links to Wikipedia and the MVO site. Since then, the eruption has recurred every few months and there have been some big surprises for both residents and scientists – most recently a massive dome collapse in February 2010. As well as elementary sections for locals and non-geologists, I added some quite technical "plain-English" explanations of key research reports about various aspects of the eruption and its effects.
Subsequently, I added sections about Montserrat as an excellent travel destination for would-be visitors. Then I tackled the future, with material about the risks of mass-tourism spoiling all the special features of this lovely island and the urgent need to exploit the geothermal energy reserves located there last summer. Finally, the deadly eruption of Merapi volcano in Indonesia last December produced a mass of extraordinary press and scientific photos and I decided to "drop everything" for several weeks and add a section about this and what it taught us about volcanic risks on Montserrat. This even included suggestions as to how to design safe shelters for those seemingly unable to leave danger zones before pyroclastic flows and surges slaughter them. This initiative was mentioned by a reporter for a national US newspaper and my "readership" rocketed twentyfold the next day! Some of the Merapi carnage images are very harrowing and I've put clear warnings before there, in case young schoolkids are upset by them. I've also tested the tricky material on my 6-year-old grandson without any problems.
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