Finishing Up Onshore and Heading Offshore

by | 6.24.2011 at 7:09pm
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Map showing the seismic stations we deployed onshore (red triangles) and planned offshore work

Seven days and eleven flights after we arrived in Alaska, we finished deploying our seismic stations onshore.  Our final constellation of stations differs a little from our original plan (as always happens with field work), but achieves our main goal of instrumenting the part of the Alaska Peninsula that is nearest to our planned offshore work on the R/V Langseth. We installed our final seismic station yesterday in aptly named Cold Bay. This town sits next to a large bay with the same name and is famous for its wind. The most common damages sustained by cars and trucks here are jack-knifed doors from the wind (as I learned the hard way!).

As luck would have it, we finished deploying our seismometers just in time to catch a large earthquake (magnitude 7.2) that occurred farther west in the Aleutians around the Fox Islands.  Of course we would love to immediately look at the recordings of this event on our stations, but we must wait patiently until August when we return to recover them. Many permanent seismic stations are telemetered, so data are transmitted back to scientists in near real time. But for temporary deployments like ours, the data are just written to a local disk and thus must be downloaded in person at the station.

I admire a small earthquake recorded at our Nelson Lagoon station

We did have the chance to take a sneak peak at some of the data recorded at our station in Nelson Lagoon during the first few days of our deployment.  Reassuringly, we saw evidence for several local earthquakes in these data, including a magnitude 3.1 near Sand Point.

Now that the onshore deployment is finished, Katie and Guy departed for home, and I soaked in some sunshine in Anchorage and started looking ahead to our upcoming research cruise.  Tonight I fly to Kodiak to await the arrival of the R/V Langseth and our shipboard science party…

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