Press Release

Governor's Group
Office of the Deputy Governor
Department of Disaster Management
Release Date:
Wednesday, 8 December 2021 - 10:32am

The Virgin Islands has improved local seismic monitoring capability with the installation of the Territory’s first solar powered strong motion sensor.

Officers from the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and engineering partners from the University of Puerto Rico Strong Motion Program in Mayagüez installed the unit to confirm the feasibility of solar powered strong motion monitoring.

The device monitors movements of the soil caused by earthquakes, and provides data that is shared with partners throughout the region.

 Locally, the same data helps to evaluate earthquake risks and can guide safer building standards, said Department of Disaster Management Acting Director Jasen Penn.

“The strong motion network is extremely useful, in particular when it comes to designing buildings which are capable of withstanding seismic movement,” Mr. Penn said.

Previously installed strong motion sensors rely on a battery or external current, but a solar option means that going forward, the units can be installed in more remote areas, said Dr. Jose Martinez-Cruzado, Director of the Puerto Rico Strong Motion Program.

“Now that we know the photovoltaic systems work, we will be ready for the next visit, when we will install four brand new solar stations, including at Norman Island and Guana Island,” Dr. Martinez said.

The partnership between BVI Government and the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez has been formalised since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2005, which covers the areas of seismic monitoring, providing equipment, maintenance, data capture and analysis for earthquake events.

Caption: DDM officers joined engineers from the University of Puerto Rico’s Strong Motion Program to assemble and install the Territory’s first solar powered strong motion sensor. (Photo credit: DDM)


Kemp Callwood

Communications Officer II
Telephone:  468-4336