by Georges JOBERT (director of IPGP from 1.8.1971 to 1.8.1976)


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).


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 :

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 :

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.


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.