On 18 Jul 1995, the Soufriere Hills Volcano on Montserrat (a British Overseas Territory in the Lesser Antilles) began a series of eruptions which have changed the face of the island, destroyed the city of Plymouth and displaced over half the population. Successive eruptions, notably in early August that year, saw rapid response humanitarian relief efforts (such as the British Operation Harlech
), followed by reconstruction projects.
The Volcano Observatory has been built on hills overlooking Soufriere Hills, near the Exclusion Zone, which covers most of the South and South East of the island. It includes a single spot helipad. Staff from the British Geological Survey managed the Observatory between 1997 and 2008 and still maintain close touch with its work.