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13/08/2012 - Greg Smith and David Cavell (Solomon Islands)

posted 13 Aug 2012, 02:05 by Joel Gill
Today we will be taking the Survey’s motorised canoeacross to Savo first thing Monday morning, and will be staying until the weekend. The coastal area around Lemboni which we are studying is one of the more populated flanks of the island and hosts major infrastructure such as the local high school, just down the coast from where we are staying.
Once on the island we have our work cut out.We plan to begin by mapping out the infrastructure of Lemboni village itself and the surrounding area at the exit of the Rembokola Valley, and hope this will give us ample opportunity to practice our Pijin (the local language) and explain the purpose of our trip to people.
After this we will spend two or more days along the few km of coast representing the landward edge of the Rembokola fan, searching out suitable sites to draw up graphic logs and beginning our work characterising the deposits in this area. Logging [measuring and describing the different geological units in an area] is one of my favourite field exercises (though many of my friends back in Leicester give me a puzzled look when I tell them that) and I can’t think of a better place than coastal cliffs on a tropical beach front to do such a thing.
This will take up the majority of our time, as we want to log, sketch and photograph these areas in detail, as well as collect samples for later use in projects. However, having mapped out local infrastructure and topographic areas, we also want to question villager’s perceptions of the volcanic hazards they face and any precautions or evacuation plans they have in place, what role the government has to play.
Our research so far indicates that the people of Savo have their own plans and concerns about the volcano, along with many residents here on Guadalcanal, the main island. Relating our work to people around Kakambona, most people ask as two things: “Will it erupt?” and “How will it affect us?” – Both pertinent questions for those who live in sight of avolcano. We look forward to the questions, and answers, the people of Savo have for us, and hope we can inform and reassure the islanders a little more on completion of our work.