Origins of a National Seismic System in the United States

Origins of a National Seismic System in the United States

John R. Filson, Walter J. Arabasz

ABSTRACT

This historical review traces the origins of the current national seismic system in the United States, a cooperative effort that unifies national, regional, and local-scale seismic monitoring within the structure of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS). The review covers (1) the history and technological evolution of U.S. seismic networks leading up to the 1990s, (2) factors that made the 1960s and 1970s a watershed period for national attention to seismology, earthquake hazards, and seismic monitoring, (3) genesis of the vision of a national seismic system during 1980–1983, (4) obstacles and breakthroughs during 1984–1989, (5) consensus building and convergence during 1990–1992, and finally (6) the twostep realization of a national system during 1993–2000. Particular importance is placed on developments during the period between 1980 and 1993 that culminated in the adoption of a charter for the Council of the National Seismic System (CNSS)—the foundation for the later ANSS. Central to this story is how many individuals worked together toward a common goal of a more rational and sustainable approach to national earthquake monitoring in the United States. The review ends with the emergence of ANSS during 1999 and 2000 and its statutory authorization by Congress in November 2000.

A uniform moment magnitude earthquake catalog and background seismicity rates for the Wasatch Front and surrounding Utah region: Appendix E in Working Group on Utah Earthquake Probabilities (WGUEP)

Arabasz, W.J., Pechmann, J.C., and Burlacu, R., 2016, A uniform moment magnitude earthquake catalog and background seismicity rates for the Wasatch Front and surrounding Utah region: Appendix E in Working Group on Utah Earthquake Probabilities (WGUEP), 2016, Earthquake probabilities for the Wasatch Front region in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming: Utah Geological Survey Miscellaneous Publication 16-3, variously paginated.

This appendix to the report by the Working Group on Utah Earthquake Probabilities (2016) describes full details of the construction and analysis of a refined earthquake catalog and the calculation of seismicity rates for the Wasatch Front and surrounding Utah region. The earthquake catalog covers the period from 1850 through September 2012. The catalog region extends from lat. 36.75° to 42.50° N and from 108.75° to 114.25° W. A uniform moment magnitude, M (and quantified magnitude uncertainty), is determined for each earthquake in the catalog.


Electronic Supplements (.xlsx)

E-1.  Best-Estimate Moment Magnitude (BEM) Earthquake Catalog

E-2.  Moment Magnitude Data

E-3.  Merged Subcatalog A, Jan. 1850-June 1962

E-4.  Merged Subcatalog B, July 1962-Dec. 1986

E-5.  Merged Subcatalog C, Jan. 1987-Sept. 2012

E-6.  Worksheets for Mobs, M~, Mpred (I0)

E-7.  Worksheets for Xnon, Xmix (Subcatalogs A, B)

E-8.  Worksheets for Xvar, Xi (Subcatalog B)

E-9.  Worksheets for Xvar, Xi (Subcatalog C)

E-10.  N* Counts for the WGUEP and Utah Regions

Earthquake Probabilities for the Wasatch Front region in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming

Wong, I., W. Lund, C. DuRoss, P. Thomas, W. Arabasz, A. Crone, M. Hylland, N. Luco, S. Olig, J. Pechmann, S. Personius, M. Petersen, D. Schwartz, R. Smith, and S. Bowman (2016). Earthquake Probabilities for the Wasatch Front region in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming, Utah Geological Survey Miscellaneous Publication 16-3,  418 pp.

Former UUSS Director, Dr. Walter J. Arabasz, Honored by the Seismological Society of America

Dr. Walter J. Arabasz, Research Professor Emeritus of Geology and Geophysics and forWJA web photomer director of the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, will be presented with the Seismological Society of America (SSA) 2015 Frank Press Public Service Award for his extraordinary public service in modernizing, expanding and promoting seismic monitoring for public safety in the United States. The award will be presented during the SSA annual meeting in Reno, Nevada, April 20–22, 2016.

The Frank Press Public Service Award is presented each year to an individual, group of individuals, or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the advancement of public safety or public information relating to seismology.

Dr. Arabasz began his career at the University of Utah in 1974 and was appointed director of the University of Utah Seismograph Stations in 1985, a position he held until his retirement from university in 2010.

He played a leading role in motivating the Utah State Legislature to create the Utah Seismic Safety Commission and in helping to build an effective state earthquake program.

During a 15-year period leading up to congressional authorization of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) in 2000, Dr. Arabasz was a key player in laying the groundwork for and shaping the vision of the ANSS. He then worked to implement elements of the ANSS in Utah, in the Intermountain West region, and nationally. He has served on the national Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction, providing guidance and oversight to the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program.

Of particular note in his award nominations was Dr. Arabasz’s efforts following the 2007 Crandall Canyon, Utah mine collapse. Dr. Arabasz assisted experts on both the state and national levels to reach a better understanding of the circumstances of the collapse and the implications for the larger issue of mine safety. He also assisted the media and public in gaining a greater awareness and understanding of mining-induced seismicity.

A uniform moment magnitude earthquake catalog for the Utah region (1850–2012) and estimation of unbiased recurrence parameters for background seismicity

Arabasz, W. J., J. C. Pechmann, and R. Burlacu (2015). A uniform moment magnitude earthquake catalog for the Utah region (1850–2012) and estimation of unbiased recurrence parameters for background seismicity, in Proc. of the Basin and Range Province Seismic Hazards Summit III, Salt Lake City, Utah, January 12‐17, W. R. Lund (Editor), Utah Geological Survey Misc. Publ. 15‐5, CD (electronic poster).

Scenario for a Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake on the Wasatch Fault–Salt Lake City Segment: Hazards and Loss Estimates

Pankow, K., W. J. Arabasz, R. Carey, G. Christenson, J. Groeneveld, B. Maxfield, P. W. McDonough, B. Welliver,
Segment: Hazards and Loss Estimates, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Utah Chapter, 53 p.

Ground-motion recording and analysis of mining-induced seismicity in the Trail Mountain Area, Emery County, Utah

Arabasz, W.J., S.J. Nava, M. k. McCarter, and K. L. Pankow (2002) Ground-motion recording and analysis of mining-induced seismicity in the Trail Mountain Area, Emery County, Utah, technical Report, University of Utah Seismograph Stations, Salt Lake City, Utah, 162pp.

Seismic characterization of coal-mining seismicity in Utah for CTBT monitoring

Arabasz, W. J. and J. C. Pechmann (2001). Seismic characterization of coal-mining seismicity in Utah for CTBT monitoring, Technical Report UCRL-CR-143772, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California, LLNL Research Agreement No. B344836, 122 pp., including tables and figures.