5/23/2012 - The Quake-Catcher Network: Installing seismometers around every corner


12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
1707 Geology

Presented By:
Elizabeth Cochran - USGS


New developments in sensor technology and the ubiquity of networked computers provide an opportunity to record earthquakes at much denser scales. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) makes use of very low-cost micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) accelerometers installed in homes, schools, and businesses to record earthquakes, with over 2000 participants worldwide. These sensors augment existing seismic networks for rapid earthquake detection, as well as for studies on seismic source- and site-related phenomena. Following the 3 September 2010 Mw7.1 Darfield earthquake, over 180 QCN stations were installed in a dense array to record the on-going aftershock sequence in and around the city of Christchurch. Using this network, we recorded hundreds of aftershocks from M2.6 – M6.3. We are using the data to automatically detect earthquakes and rapidly determine their location and magnitude. We also compare the records from the QCN sensors to nearby traditional network stations and find that the observed ground motions are similar, suggesting that these low-cost sensor provide reliable seismograms. We will be installing 6,000 sensors in the seismically active regions of the US, including Southern California, over the next two years to improve sensor coverage before the next moderate to large earthquake.

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