REPORT ON THE MEANS GIVEN AT I.P.G.P. FOR ITS VOLCANOLOGICAL MISSION 1971 - 1976
by Georges JOBERT (director of IPGP from 1.8.1971 to 1.8.1976)
1 - INTRODUCTION
The Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (I.P.G.P.) has been responsible for years of two "volcanological" observatories, one near Montagne Pelée in Martinique, the other near La Soufrière in Guadeloupe. To keep them operating on a minimal basis has been one of the most difficult tasks of the successive directors of I.P.G., as the means given for them have always been very insufficient. Crisis has generally been the only opportunity to improve a bit the situation. (For example the laboratory of Saint Claude, first considered as a mere annex of the Martinique Observatory, has never been considered as "created" by the ministerial administration and has been connected to the town mains only after the 1956 crisis).
2 - SITUATION IN 1971
When nominated to the direction of I.P.G.P. in 1971, I found that the responsibility of this institute concerning the french Antilles volcanoes - which was reaffirmed at an interministerial meeting - was absolutely not compatible with the means given to it :
- The annual budget for the Martinique observatory (and therefore for both) was 45 KF.
- The staff of the observatories was (and still is in August 1976) :
- Martinique = 1 assistant-physicist (Jean-Pierre VIODÉ), 1 mechanic, 2 attendants
- Guadeloupe = 1 assistant-physicist (Michel FEUILLARD), 1 assistant, 1 mechanic, 1 attendant.
3 - DEVELOPMENT FROM 1972 to 1976.
I decided to increase our chances of success by asking the well known volcanologist Haroun TAZIEFF to enter I.P.G.P. and try to develop there a volcanological service. I formed a Commission for volcanology with scientists from I.P.G.P. (specialised in geochemistry, geomagnetism, seismology, tiltmetry) from CNRS and A.E.C. This Commission met twice per year and helped me to make priority choices.
We prepared a report which is a part of the dossier. On its basis the Direction de l'Enseignement Supérieur (DES) granted an exceptional supply (500 KF on 3 years) as did the Institut National d'Astronomie et de Géophysique (I.N.A.G.) (200 KF). Local authorities also contributed by annual grants (FIDOM). The budget of I.P.G.P. has been significantly increased in 1976.
Following the proposals of the volcanological Commission I have employed the supplementary founds to :
- give a correct annual budget to the observatories (75 KF/year each)
- improve the installations and repair the buildings
- install a modern seismological station in both observatories (magnetic tape recorder and electronic equipment
- complete the telemeasured seismic network acquired owing to FIDOM grants, in particular with a station in the island Dominique.
- buy automatic stations developed by AEC for chemical gas, analysis and temperature gradients and recruit an engineer (during his national service) to install them and try to keep them. operating near the volcano top.
- make an aeromagnetic map of both islands (at low cost taking advantage of the passage of a convenient aircraft)
- set magnetic stations to study the secular variation and possible anomalies
- send the two physicists to a geophysical campaign on an active volcano (Etna, June 1976).
The program foresaw an experimental seismology campaign in 1976 to calibrate the seismic network, and a levelling campaign in 1977.
In spite of yearly reiterated requests to D.E.S. the only post obtained during these 5 years has been in october 1972 one engineer position for the Central Service (which thus was limited to 2 persons : Haroun TAZIEFF and François LE GUERN).
This spring, D.E.S. recognised the absolute necessity of an electronics technician to insure a good functioning of the telemeasured seismic network, but confirmed that no technician position could be given this year. In July (after the crisis beginning) three positions have been opened.
4 - CONCLUSION
Some improvements have been made during these 5 years in the scientific equipment and the basic knowledge of the islands. Unfortunately practically no supplementary personnel has be given I.P.G.P. to form a trained staff.