GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 156-8
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


ELLINS, Katherine K.1, MANDAL, Arpita2, COLEMAN, Paul3, BRAVO, Tammy K.4, WHITE, Delmares5, KELLY, Amoy5, JAMES-WILLIAMSON, Sherene6, TABER, John7 and BLACK, Karleen3, (1)Office of Outreach and Diversity, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 10100 Burnet Rd., Bldg. 196, Austin, TX 78758, (2)Department of Geography and Geology, University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, 7, Jamaica, (3)University of the West Indies, Mona, Earthquake Unit, Kingston, 7, Jamaica, (4)IRIS, 1200 New York Ave. NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005, (5)Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), 2-4 Haining Road, Kingston, 7, Jamaica, (6)Department of Geography and Geology, University of the West Indies, Mona, Mona Campus, kingston 6, Jamaica, Kingston, (7)IRIS, Washington, DC 20005,

The Jamaican Educational Seismic Network (JAESN) is a new initiative to increase Jamaicans’ awareness about earthquakes. Located in the plate boundary zone between the North America and Caribbean plates, Jamaica, experiences numerous small earthquakes each year and infrequent, devastating earthquakes. The 1692 Port Royal and 1907 Kingston historic earthquakes are noteworthy and were comparable to the January 12th, 2010 Haiti earthquake. Along with Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Jamaica is located in the Enriquillo Plantain Garden Fault zone (EPGZ). The capital city Kingston is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes because of its location at the foothills of the Blue Mountains on an alluvial plain in the vicinity of a major restraining bend associated with the EPGZ.

Organized within the framework of the IRIS Seismograph in Schools program, JAESN aims to promote geoscience knowledge, hazard awareness, and community resilience to Jamaica’s seismic risk among pre-college and undergraduate students. The network comprises six seismograph stations at Jamaican high schools and in the Geology Museum at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona. Each JAESN station has an official designation and streams data live via the Internet. In this presentation, we describe how the network functions and discuss the ways in which JAESN (1) Involves students in gathering, analyzing and sharing earthquake event data from their AS-1 seismograph stations with other network institutions; (2) connects science classrooms to researchers at UWI by monitoring local and regional earthquakes, and by encouraging collaboration on local research in seismology and related geohazards; and (3) promotes earthquake preparation and response through activities such as earthquake drills and community outreach.

JAESN is a collaboration involving the U.S Fulbright Program, the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica, UWI’s Department of Geography and Geology, the Earthquake Unit, Jamaica’s Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, and public and private secondary schools. It brings together multiple voices and expertise to build Jamaica’s resilience to earthquakes through education. The JAESN project also has the potential to strengthen STEM education in Jamaica and raise the visibility of geoscience as a career.