A new large project to reduce the risk and impacts from geohazards in Southeast Asia

12 Dec 2022 | EOS News

Author: Lauriane CHARDOT

The Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) was awarded its largest externally funded research programme so far, by the Ministry of Education (MOE) of Singapore. Titled ‘Integrating Volcano and Earthquake Science and Technology (InVEST) in Southeast Asia’, the programme will focus on the connections between earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis and landslides in Southeast Asia, and will provide the tools to reduce the risk and impacts from these geohazards on lives and infrastructure.

Led by Professor Emma Hill, Principal Investigator at EOS and Chair of the Asian School of the Environment, InVEST brings together an interdisciplinary team of earthquake and volcano scientists from EOS, including Associate Professor Benoit Taisne, Assistant Professor Shengji Wei, Associate Professor Susanna Jenkins and Associate Professor Sang-Ho Yun, an earthquake historian from the National University of Singapore (Associate Professor Gregory Clancey), and numerous local and overseas collaborators. The team will aim to understand the hazards from the plate boundaries around Southeast Asia called subduction zones, that lead to the greatest earthquakes, large eruptions, and associated tsunamis and landslides that the Southeast Asia region is regularly experiencing.

Map showing the location of earthquakes, volcanoes, faults, and undersea cables in Southeast Asia (Source: Earth Observatory of Singapore)

InVEST officially started on 1 November 2022 and will last for five years. It comprises eight components across three multi-disciplinary themes. The first theme will investigate how hazards are linked, and will build a new tectonic framework for Southeast Asia, unravel the mutual influence of volcanoes and tectonic faults, and improve the fundamental understanding of tsunami and landslides. The second theme will innovate technology to monitor and understand geohazards, by developing new tools to model earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and new techniques for monitoring and imaging tectonic and volcano processes. The third theme will characterise how geohazards affect societies in Southeast Asia, and will provide quick and accurate measurements of surface deformation and damage, develop a risk-assessment framework for natural hazards in Southeast Asia, and catalogue and understand how volcanism and seismicity of Southeast Asia have affected human geography. Finally, the community engagement aspect of the project will use a multi-pronged approach to build a Singapore cohort of earth scientists, and to build trust, develop scientific interest, and raise awareness in communities about natural hazards in Southeast Asia.

EOS draws on almost 15 years of earthquake and volcano experience in Southeast Asia, which has led to numerous peer-reviewed publications in top-ranked journals and collaborations with Southeast Asian countries. “This project is unique in bringing together experts from such a wide range of subjects -- from seismology, geology and volcanology to remote sensing, risk, social science and history. Together we will develop new fundamental knowledge about hazards and risks in the region, as well as the tools needed to promote safer and more sustainable societies,” said Prof Hill.

InVEST Photo of Emma
Professor Emma Hill in front of a screen showing damage for natural hazards (Source: Earth Observatory of Singapore)

InVEST is a grant from the MOE TIER3B category. EOS had previously been awarded an MOE TIER3A grant called the SouthEast Asia SEA level Program (SEA2) in 2020.

To learn more about InVEST, visit the InVEST page.



Geographic Area

Asia > Southeast Asia

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