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Research@Mines Archive:
September, 2019

Monitoring the Deep–Arrays of Seismometers Give Geoscientists New Insights into Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions

A team of student researchers from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and the University of Alaska Fairbanks heads into the Alaskan wilderness to place a series of seismometers along the Denali Fault.

On a cold February morning, just off the only highway adjacent to Alaska’s Denali National Park, Kevin Ward, Ph.D., and a group of students dig into the snow with shovels and ice axes. Once they reach the ground, the team places a small instrument into the frozen tundra. The sensor is about the size of a coffee can – but with a spike poking out of the bottom. After the sensor is set and covered with snow, the team drives about a half-mile and repeats the process. These researchers will place 400 of these devices over the next several days.

The array of seismometers they’re deploying along about 190 miles of the Denali Fault will detect tiny movements in the earth’s crust. By analyzing the seismic waves captured by these devices, the scientists can map the underground structure of this area. The data this team recovers will give a more detailed view than ever before of what’s happening along this section of the Denali Fault.

“People have done this in the past with earlier generation seismometers. But these new instruments give much higher resolution of what’s going on underground,” says Ward, an assistant professor of geology and geological engineering at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

The kind of detailed analysis can be very useful for those who want to understand earthquakes. The Denali Fault is among the most active in the United States. In 2002, this fault...

Last Edited 9/9/2019 09:34:59 AM [Comments (0)]