1936 Royal Society Expedition to Montserrat - The Archibald Gordon MacGregor Archive

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Dr. Archie MacGregor (with pith helmet) from the Geological Survey of Great Britain. Geologist with the 1936 Royal Society Montserrat Expedition. Seismologist, Dr. Cecil F. Powell of Bristol University, Nobel Physics Prize in 1950 for his work on Pi Mesons. Papers in Bristol University Library; Special Collections. 1936.
Topographical sketch map of Montserrat


In 1936 the Royal Society in collaboration with the Colonial Office organized an expedition to Montserrat to study the geology and investigate the earthquakes and Soufrière activity that had caused damage in the previous two years. The personnel on the expedition were Dr C F Powell and Dr A G MacGregor. This site illustrates the range of archives left to the British Geological Survey by Dr MacGregor that include: documents, photographs and rock specimens.

The Royal Society Expedition was led by Dr A G MacGregor, a geologist, and Dr C F Powell, a physicist. In May 1936 Dr T A Jaggar of the Hawai'i Volcano Observatory visited Montserrat at the invitation of the Royal Society, and arriving with him, on the same steamer, was Mr F A Perret the distinguished volcanologist from the Mt Pelé Volcano Museum.

Powell carried out seismological investigations between 24th March and 24th July using four horizontal Jaggar shock recorders, one Kew-Jagger vertical shock recorder and one two-component horizontal Wiechert seismograph. MacGregor studied the geology and petrology of Montserrat during 11 weeks of field work carried out between March and May 1936. The archive consists of the following:




A brief account of Arichibald Gordon MacGregor is provided.

The full collection of photos can be viewed on Geoscenic.

Both MacGregor and Powell published preliminary and detailed accounts of their respective studies. Bibliographical details are listed below.


MacGregor, A G 1936. Royal Society Expedition to Montserrat, BW..: Preliminary report on the geology of Montserrat. Proc. Roy. Soc. B, 121, p.232-52.

MacGregor, A G 1939. The Royal Society expedition to Montserrat, BWI.: The volcanic history and petrology of Montserrat, with observations on Mt. Pelé in Martinique. Philos. Trans. Roy. Soc. B, v.239, p.1-90, 9 plates.

Powell, C F 1937. Royal Society Expedition to Montserrat, BWI.: Preliminary report on seismic activity. Proc. Roy. Soc. A, 158, p.479-94.

Powell, C F 1938. The Royal Society expedition to Montserrat, BWI.: Final Report. Philos. Trans. Roy. Soc. A. 237, p.1-34.