IPGP has been present in the West Indies for decades, through its permanent Observatories in Martinique and Guadeloupe, which are in charge of scientific studies and field work such as the monitoring of seismic and volcanic activity and the study of soil erosion.
The West Indies are indeed an ideal experimental field for observation and fundamental research for several IPGP research teams (Seismology, Lithosphere tectonics and mechanics, Volcanic Systems, Marine Geophysics, etc.).
The major scientific challenges raised by this subduction zone are :
Which are the main active structures involved ? Where are the blocked zones ?
What are the relations between seismic fault systems ?
Is there a link between volcano eruptions and earthquakes ? How do the volcanic systems work and are there related to each other ? Is there a tsunami hazard ?
The seismology team is involved in studies on :
- subduction zone : modelling of source and aftershocks sequence (Les Saintes earthquake 2004)
- historic seismicity : modelling of the rupture and its impact of the large earthquakes (like 1843)
- strong motion : attenuation law (GMPE) macroseismic intensity prediction equation
- volcanic seismology (Soufrière of Guadeloupe): study of the seismic structures through relocation, multiplets and event classification,
- instrumental developments : optical sensors, borehole tiltmeters, radar extensometer
- methodological developments : seismic database, real-time data analysis, location catalog, user interface (in close collaboration with IPGP Data Center, Observatories, and Geoscope).