Projects and Activities
Activities of the IVM-Fund
Of the ~1500 potentially active volcanoes in the world about 60 of them erupt each year. The vast majority of these volcanoes have little to no monitoring equipment deployed on their flanks to measure activity levels and provide advance warning of an eruption.
In addition, most of the world’s volcanoes are located in developing countries which do not have the financial means to adequately monitor their volcanoes.
The International Volcano Monitoring Fund (IVM-Fund) is a nonprofit corporation serving volcanically-threatened communities in the developing world by providing instrumentation, training, and education to monitor environmental hazards from active volcanoes. The IVM-Fund aims to provide these services as a benefit to the public in the cities, towns, and villages located near dangerous volcanoes. The delivery of volcano monitoring instruments to these communities, as well as instruction in their use, is meant to have a direct impact on improving public safety by empowering local officials with information about the state-of-activity of a nearby, restless volcano. By providing local scientists, engineers, and technicians with the tools they need to measure the pulse of the volcano, better interpretations of the volcanic activity can be made to then discern potential volcanic eruption scenarios. This information assists decision makers and the public in their ability to safeguard themselves from volcanic phenomena that potentially threaten life and property. Without adequate volcano monitoring information, people may be left blind to the volcanic dangers they face.
The IVM-Fund focuses on direct support of volcano monitoring activities, educational programs, and scientific research to further the organization’s goal of volcanic risk mitigation.
In Guatemala, the IVM-Fund is working with Gustavo Chigna of INSIVUMEH (the national volcanology institute). Santiaguito is one of Guatemala’s most active and hazardous volcanoes. Go to the IVM-Fund Guatemala page.
In Mexico, the IVM-Fund is working with Dr. Nick Varley, a volcanologist at the University of Colima. Colima is home to Mexico’s most active volcano (Volcan de Fuego de Colima).
The vision for how these projects will be carried out is as follows. First, the work begins with a meeting between the IVM-Fund and the scientists working in the field to discuss the types of volcano monitoring instruments which would best suit their needs. Next, funds are raised to purchase the volcano monitoring equipment followed by delivery and installation. Several months after delivery, an IVM-Fund site visit will be organized to ascertain that the donated volcano monitoring equipment is being properly utilized to further the volcano monitoring goals of the IVM-Fund. Over the course of the coming years, additional volcanoes will be selected following consultation with local scientists to assess not only the need for volcano monitoring equipment but also the ability of local individuals to operate and maintain donated equipment.
Educational programs delivered to the general public in volcanically-threatened communities are focused on the value of volcano monitoring, what can happen during an eruption, and what one should do in case of an eruption to protect health and safety.
Oftentimes, the general public is woefully ill-informed about the hazards associated with volcanic activity, particularly at volcanoes that have periods of inactivity which last more than a decade (this is an average time period over which people commonly “forget” about the real hazards of volcanic eruptions). Educational forums hosted by the IVM-Fund will provide materials to all in attendance describing volcanic hazards and public discussion groups will be conducted to answer questions from the audience about volcanoes, volcanic hazards, volcanic activity, and volcano monitoring. In these educational forums, we will inform the public about the types of volcano monitoring instrumentation we are donating to local scientists as well as the kind of information that can and cannot be collected with these instruments. We also plan to collaborate with local universities by providing seminars and short courses to students to educate them on the science of volcanology and volcano monitoring.
Scientific research conducted by the IVM-Fund is aimed at investigations that result in a direct benefit to the public. We will conduct public interest applied research by testing new technologies that monitor activity levels at restless volcanoes.
This research will be published in the peer-reviewed literature and be publicly available for others to study and use. An example of a past research project that occurred prior to formation of the IVM-Fund is an assessment of acidic volcanic gas emissions from Villarrica volcano (Chile) and the impact of these toxic gases on tourists. This research was published in the peer-reviewed literature by Dr. Jeff Witter, CEO of IVM-Fund, and is an example of how we envision the research efforts of the IVM-Fund to be in the interest of public safety. Current research at the IVM-Fund involves development of new methods to quantify steam emissions from active volcanoes. This type of research aids in the monitoring of volcanic activity levels and eruption forecasting. Testing of novel volcano monitoring technologies will initially take place at Mount Baker volcano in Washington State (USA).
In the summer of 2009, the IVM-Fund commenced a research program at the Dorr Fumarole Field, high on the NE flank of Mt. Baker. We made temperature measurements and compiled a geologic map of the area. We plan to return to the Dorr Fumarole Field in the summer of 2011 to continue our work. Click here to read the trip report and view photos of the Dorr Fumarole Field.
We expect the bulk of our tax-exempt revenue to come from governmental grants, private agency funding, and individual contributions.
Over the life of the IVM-Fund, we intend tax-exempt revenue to be well-balanced between these three sources, however, we expect the relative contribution from each one may vary depending on the success of grant proposals. Individual contributions are possible through our website (www.ivm-fund.org) and will also be solicited at fundraising events hosted by the IVM-Fund.