About MVO


  1. Monitoring activity at the Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat. MVO develops, operates and maintains a substantial inventory of equipment for this purpose. Some of the development work is carried out in conjunction with overseas research partners, allowing the deployment of cutting-edge technology without the associated costs.
  2. Providing advice on activity at the Soufrière Hills Volcano to the Government of Montserrat. MVO, in conjunction with the Scientific Advisory Committee, carries out an annual formal risk assessment for the Montserrat and UK governments.
  3. MVO is responsible for outreach related to the Soufrière Hills Volcano . This includes: communicating with the general public through Radio Montserrat (ZJB); public meetings; educational and awareness activities with schools and community group; dealing with local, regional and international media enquiries; tourist visits to MVO.
  4. The scientific staff at MVO carry out research using the monitoring data. This serves to improve monitoring techniques and knowledge of the SHV. MVO staff collaborate on research with many institutions around the world.


Montserrat Volcano Observatory is a Statutory Body established by an act of the Government of Montserrat in 1999. Prior to that date, the name was used to collectively describe the varying collection of scientists working on the Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat.
Administratively, MVO is responsible to the Office of the Deputy Governor. MVO works closely with the Disaster Management and Co-ordination Agency (DMCA), which is part of the ODG.

The work of MVO is carried out under the direction of the MVO Board of Directors, also known as the MVO Main Board, which meets twice annually. The membership of the Main Board is listed here.

The Board of Directors delegates operational matters to the MVO Operations Board, which meets approximately every two months. The membership of the Ops Board is listed here.

The MVO Director is a member of the National Disaster Preparedness and Advisory Committee (NDPRAC) which makes decisions regarding all issues of public safety on Montserrat.

The UK Government’s Foreign Office (FCO) commissioned a Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) to assess the scientific integrity of the work being carried out by MVO and to provide advice to the FCO. SAC meets twice a year, once on Montserrat and once by teleconference. SAC also reports its findings to the Governor and to the Premier. The membership of SAC is changed regularly. The current membership of SAC is listed here.

Since 1 May 2008, the University of the West Indies have provided scientific staff, support and equipment for MVO under a contract from the Government of Montserrat. The current contract runs until 1 October 2021 and provides six scientific staff, including the Director, whose appointment has to be approved by the Government of Montserrat. Prior to 2008, scientific staff were provided by the British Geological Survey.


Funding for MVO comes from the Ministry of Finance and the finances are audited by the Auditor-General.

MVO is free to generate income through activities related to its work, for instance from tourism, the hosting of workshops and from running courses. The income from such activities is very small compared to the overall budget and any profits are used to help fund additional activities at MVO, such as the hiring of interns.


MVO has a full-time staff of 16. Six of these are provided by the University of the West Indies under contract.


MVO Building

MVO has occupied five different buildings since the eruption began in 1995. The current building was purpose-built by the Government of Montserrat in 2003.

Reports and Publications

MVO publishes regular reports for its various stakeholders.
The following reports are publicly available on the MVO wabsite.
  • Activity Reports, including Weekly Reports, are also published in a bulk email and on Facebook. They are also read out on Radio Montserrat (ZJB).
  • Open File Reports containing important data or information that is not suited for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Annual SAC Reports from the Scientific Advisory Committee.
MVO staff are encouraged to publish scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals.