Geophysical Equipment to Enhance JKUAT Research Enterprise

Two students participate in burying one of the seismometers within JKUAT

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has received and successfully tested geophysical equipment donated by the Japanese government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) under the ongoing LENGO Project initiated in 2019.

The project, a Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) initiative, seeks to promote capacity building and research collaboration between Japanese and Kenyan enterprises and universities.

The donated equipment which includes twenty Smart solo seismometers and two CG6 gravimeters, will be utilized to record micro seismicity or earthquakes and map the subsurface heat source in the Olkaria and Menengai geothermal fields, respectively.

The geophysical equipment was tested by a team of staff and students from the Physics Department (JKUAT), as well as staff from Kyushu University (Japan), Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen), University of Nairobi (UoN) and Geothermal Development Company (GDC), with a goal to address pressing global challenges such as climate change, natural hazards, resource management, and environmental sustainability.

While receiving the equipment, Prof. John Githiri a Lecturer in the Physics Department, said, the

Ms. Deflorah Kangogo from GDC demonstrates how a seismometer works to some of the physics students

equipment will be critical in the university’s path to solidify its stature in scientific research and discovery. He also stated that the acquisition of cutting-edge geophysical equipment will transform the institution’s capabilities in earth sciences and beyond.

“The acquisition of this geophysical equipment represents a watershed moment in our university’s history, putting us at the forefront of cutting-edge research and innovation in the areas of geology, environmental science and archeology The equipment’s increased capabilities and adaptability will provide new opportunities for multidisciplinary cooperation, exploration, and discovery,” said Prof. Githiri.

Prof. Githiri said, the equipment will enhance the university’s standing as a center for innovation, scholarship, and excellence in higher learning and that doing so will help draw in top talent and cultivate an environment that encourages exploration and curiosity.

He further noted that this will aid the institution in making substantial contributions to society through research, teaching and outreach programs.

Ms. Deflorah Kangogo, Senior Geophysicist at Geothermal Development Company (GDC), stated during one of the seismometers’ testing sessions that the acquisition of the equipment provides unparalleled opportunities for hands-on learning, experiential discovery, and professional development.

“This initiative provides our students with the opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research with prominent faculty mentors, as well as to obtain practical skills and knowledge that will prepare them for jobs in academia, industry, government, and beyond,” stated Ms. Kangogo.

The Deployment of the 20 seismometers around the Menengai geothermal field later took place from 29th April to 3rd May 2024 for three months and will thereafter be moved to the Olkaria geothermal field and managed by the LENGO project team.

Prof. Githiri (JKUAT) together with Ms. Gladys Kianji a Geology Lecturer at UoN take part in burying a seismometer in Menengai

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