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Seismic Network

Map of Seismic Network Map of seismograph stations.
The Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network (PNSN) operates seismographic instrumentation in Washington and northern Oregon. It is centered at the UW Department of Earth and Space Sciences, in Seattle, and operated jointly with University of Washington Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Oregon (maintenance of seismograph stations and operate broad-band stations). Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) maintain stations on Mount St. Helens and Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory maintain stations in eastern Washington.

The PNSN is part of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS), and exchanges real-time data with adjoining networks. Equipment is operated at over 200 remote sites, and data is exchanged with other networks, including the US National Network.

Network sites are located in U.S. National Forests, on lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and the Washington Dept. of Parks and Recreation, in schools and public buildings; or on private properties. Some sites have individual formal land-use agreements with the UW, other sites are covered by agreements with PNSN's cooperating institutions or funding agencies. Agreements generally include the right to maintain equipment on the site and the support of access. Some site fees are paid. Most sites consist of seismic monitoring equipment with little human presence. The network is dynamic and changes somewhat from year to year.

Washington and Oregon.
Ruth Ludwin, Research Scientist,;
Bill Steele, Public Information,;
Stephen Malone, Research Professor,;
all of Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences
The PNSN operates equipment at more than 200 sites. Real-time data is telemetered to the UW. A variety of seismometers are operated, and the equipment at a site may include 3-component strong-motion (89 sites) and/or 3-component broadband (20 sites) seismometers, and/or a single short-period vertical instrument (139 sites). Sites are generally visited at least once per year, and the average life span of equipment is 5-10 years. Short-period stations are analog and are digitized, time-stamped, and recorded at the UW. Broad-band and strong-motion stations use digital telemetry and require power, GPS receiver, and internet or leased modem communication. These stations are usually sheltered in buildings or weatherproof enclosures. All of the strong-motion, and some of the broad-band, sites have on-site data loggers to record independently if real-time communication fails.

The data recording system, EARTHWORM, is a nationally standardized seismic data recording and exchange system. EARTHWORM allows data to be collected at local nodes and then broadcast to other nodes. The PNSN operates several local nodes, and exchanges data with adjoining networks through EARTHWORM systems.

National Forest, Washington State Department of Natural Resources land, Washington Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Weyerhaeuser, other public and private owners.
Research grants and contracts and general operating funds.
Recent Usage
Research: The network provides seismic data used by university researchers, government agencies, private firms, and individuals. Trace data and event locations are in the public domain and available via the PNSN Web site. Summaries of network operations and seismicity are compiled quarterly. Instruction: 3 to 6 graduate students at any one time are conducting research, generating an average of one doctoral dissertation every other year. About 3 undergraduate students are employed part time, and PNSN staff provide lab tours to undergraduate and graduate student groups, and consultation on individual student projects. Non-UW: When felt earthquakes occur in the Pacific Northwest, PNSN staff work closely with emergency managers and mass media to provide timely and accurate information on the earthquake location, magnitude, and shaking intensity. PNSN staff also provide information about past seismicity and seismic hazards in the Pacific Northwest to a wide variety of groups including media, local and regional government agencies, business groups, and schools.
PNSN, University of Washington
Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences
Box 351310
Seattle WA 98195-1310

Telephone: 206-685-8180
FAX: 206-543-0489

Unique Environment
Regional network.
Principal investigator: Stephen Malone. Other staff include a data analyst, a laboratory coordinator and two staff seismologists. In addition, three full-time electronics technicians provide maintenance support for the field stations and campus operations.