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World Organization of Volcanic Observatories

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(was 1200)
Natural Resources Canada
Earth Science Sector
Geological Survey of Canada (Vancouver)
101-605 Robson Street


Telephone: 604.666.0529 (general office)
Telefax : 604.666.7507
Director : Dr. Catherine Hickson
Email :
Website :

Scientific Staff:

Dr. C.J. (Catherine) Hickson
Dr. M.V. (Mark) Stasiuk
Dr. K.A. (Kirstie) Simpson

Affiliated Researchers

GSC Sidney :
Dr. John Cassidy, Seismologist
Dr. Herb Dragert, Crustal Deformation and Earthquake Hazards
Dr. Garry Rogers, Seismologist

University of British Columbia :
Dr. J.K. (Kelly) Russell

McGill University :
Dr. John Stix

Canada has examples of almost every type of volcano. Although none are erupting now, at least 3 did in the last few hundred years and numerous others have the potential to erupt in the near future. Other countries' volcanoes also can affect Canadians: eruptions in Alaska or along the west coast of the U.S.A. can impact forestry, agriculture and air travel across western Canada.  For these reasons Canada’s Federal geological Survey (Geological Survey of Canada, GSC) has been building a baseline of knowledge on the state of our volcanoes and has maintained an expertise in volcanology for several decades.  Most work has been aimed at fundamental understanding of recent volcanism in Canada through field studies of individual volcanoes and volcanic fields, but the GSC is continually improving its ability to monitor the volcanoes in order to forecast impending activity.  A summary of this work can be found on the web page  Research is supported through the GSC as well as cooperative projects with university researchers and funding from the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and other sources.

Since 1990 Canada has maintained an “Interagency Volcanic Event Notification Plan” (IVENP).  This plan was developed in response to the December, 1989 eruption of Redoubt Volcano, Alaska, USA.  The plan, maintained by the GSC, coordinates the activities of all the potentially affected jurisdictions should an event occur in Canada or in neighbouring regions affecting Canadian.  Beside the GSC, the plan involves Environment Canada, Canadian Weather Service, Office of Critical Infrastructure, Preparedness and Emergency Planning Canada (OCIPEP formally Emergency Preparedness Canada), the British Columbia Provincial Emergency Program, Transport Canada Aviation, NavCanada, the Yukon Emergency Measures Organization, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and the Canadian Airline Pilots Association. All these agencies meet regularly to ensure that the IVENP is up-to-date.

In addition to its domestic duties in volcanic hazards, the GSC is involved in a large multinational geological hazards related project in South America.  The Multinational Andean Project: Geoscience for Andean Communities (MAP:GAC) began June 28, 2002 and besides Canada, includes Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. The project goal is to contribute to improving the quality of life for the people of the Andes by reducing the negative impact of natural hazards (earthquakes, landslides, and volcanoes).  Through the project, updated and integrated geoscience and geospatial information on natural hazards will be provided for: use planning and 2.natural hazard mitigation.

Funding for the project comes from the eight participating nations but is expected to exceed $35,000,000CDN over the six years of (June 2002 – March 2008) the project. The Geological Survey of Canada has been named the executing agency by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), administering the estimated $12,000,000 CDN in funding to be provided by CIDA. Monthly updates and additional information on the Project can be found on the web page

Information updated October 2003

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