Alaska’s permanent earthquake monitoring network is expanding

Seismic stations in Alaska
Seismic stations in Alaska(Alaska Earthquake Center)
Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 9:44 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska’s earthquake monitoring system is expanding with some permanent additions, Natalia Ruppert, a seismologist with the Alaska Earthquake Center, said.

About 160 new temporary seismic stations were added around the state as part of a previous project, but those will be staying a little bit longer because of the pandemic. When it does come time to remove the temporary stations, about 100 of them will be staying.

The sites were originally installed as part of a multi-year, multi-million dollar initiative by the national science foundation called USArray.

Ruppert said the “primary goals were to study earth structure, to study seismic hazards in Alaska, but that project was for a limited time span. So, it was scheduled to sunset in 2020.”

Now, the Alaska Earthquake Center has found a way to make some of those sites permanent.

The National Science Foundation had planned to remove all 160 stations because the timeframe they planned to fund was over, so the Alaska Earthquake Center got to work and started planning how to keep some of them for the permanent seismic network, partly because of where they are located.

“It’s not only 100 stations, but it’s 100 stations in regions where we didn’t have any seismic stations before or hardly any stations before,” Ruppert said. “So, it’s number and coverage across the state.”

Ruppert said 100 new seismic stations are a sizable addition, as there are only about 400 in Alaska.

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