As early as 1902, Alfred Lacroix, Professor at the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle started studying and monitoring the eruptive manifestations of La Montagne Pelée at two observation posts. The first in Assier in order to observe the volcanic activities towards the East that caused casualties and disasters in Morne-Rouge and the second in Morne-des-Cadets which became a real volcanological observatory.

Given the lack of resources and the decreasing activity of La Montagne Pelée, observations ceased in 1925, four years before the eruption of 1929-1932.

In 1935 an observatory, managed by the Service de météorologie et de physique du globe, was built on Morne Moustin near Morne-des-Cadets.

In 1936, engineers Quervain and Picard built one of the three units in the world of the 20-ton seismograph called "Quervain/Picard". It is now in the part of the building converted in a museum.

In 1946, the Institut de physique du globe de Paris took over the management of the observatory that became the volcanological observatory of La Montagne Pelée while all the meteorological monitoring moved to a new Meteorological Observatory at Fort Desaix.

In 1985, under the decentralization laws, the building of the observatory came under the jurisdiction of the Martinique department.

In 2007, due to its involvement in the field of seismology and research related to seismic risk, the IPGP renamed the observatory with its current name: Observatoire volcanologique et sismologique de Martinique.

In the 2010's the volcanological and seismological observatories of Guadeloupe and Martinique modernized the Lesser Antilles Arc seismic, deformation and tide monitoring network to set up an arc scale observatory in collaboration with the Seismic Research Centre of the University of the West Indies (Trinidad). The output of this regional network are threefold: 1) participate to the tsunami warning in the Caribbean by distributing relevant data to the Caribbean Tsunami Warning System (ICG-CARIBE-EWS), 2) improve the volcanic and seismic monitoring to advice local authorities and 3) stimulate scientific research in the lesser Antilles by disseminating high quality data.

In 2019, the collectivité territoriale de Martinique (CTM) completed the construction of a new modern observatory on the site of the Habitation Blondel one kilometer from the historic observatory built in 1935.

The three missions of the volcanological and seismological observatory of Martinique are 1) volcano monitoring, 2) research and 3) communication, dissemination and teaching. The main mission of the volcanological and seismological observatories of IPGP is to collect geological, geophysical and geochemical data over long periods of time, to allow the systematic elaboration of long-term multi-parameters databases available to the scientific community, and to inform the authorities in charge of civil protection of any increase in the activity of the volcanoes and after periods of felt earthquakes. The real-time observations and research can contribute to the prevention, and mitigation of seismic and volcanic risks. The main research themes covered by the scientists are general volcanology, geology, seismology, ground deformation and geodesy, thermal flux, volcanic fluid geochemistry (gases, thermal springs), using a combination of field data from monitoring networks and repetition surveys as well as remote-sensing techniques.
Institut De Physique Du Globe De Paris (IPGP)
Resource type
Datasets, products, collections and reports
Institut de physique du globe de Paris (IPGP),
Publication year
Created : 1902-05-08

Martinique and the Lesser Antilles
N: 18 S: 11 E: -58 W: -64


Institut De Physique Du Globe De Paris (IPGP). (2021). Data collection of the seismological and volcanological observatory of Martinique. Institut de physique du globe de Paris (IPGP), https://doi.org/10.18715/MARTINIQUE.OVSM

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  • Observatoire Volcanologique Et Sismologique De Martinique (OVSM) - Data Collector
  • Institut De Physique Du Globe De Paris (IPGP) - Hosting Institution
  • Résif Data Centre - Distributor
  • IPGP Data Center - Distributor
  • Service national d'observation en volcanologie (SNOV), CNRS
  • Ministère de l'enseignement supérieur, de la recherche et de l'innovation (MESRI)
  • Programme européen Interreg
  • Ministère de la transition écologique (MTE)
  • Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)
  • Fonds européen de développement régional (FEDER)
  • Collectivité territoriale de Martinique (CTM)
  • Ministère des Outre-mer (MOM)