During J Term 2013, nine students are traveling to Jamaica as part of a multidisciplinary Earth Sciences course to conduct geophysical research on earthquake risks on the Caribbean island. Jamaica’s capital city of Kingston rests precariously along the western edge of the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault, which activated in the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in nearby Haiti. During their trip, the students will collect and analyze geophysical data on land and at sea, and will present their findings to Jamaica’s Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management. Taught by SMU Earth Sciences Associate Professor Matt Hornbach and Lyndon Brown of the University of the West Indies, the course is funded in part by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists’ Geoscientists Without Borders program and The Institute for the Study of Earth and Man in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.
The SMU group and Mr. Stewart (left), our fearless driver. The white rocks in the background show the headwall of Judgement Cliff, a massive landslide that occurred during the 1692 earthquake. The white cliff face is nearly a half-mile wide. When the slide occurred, it buried a plantation and all of its occupants. An update from Emma, a geology and mathematics major: Emma taking a break along the eastern shore of Port Royal, with Gun Cay and Lime Cay in the background. I woke up on our last day in Jamaica at 7 am to finish my final paper. I was in the sediment group, and we analyzed the sand on the beach to determine its [...]