RAC Meeting 2006

Minutes of ANSS Pacific Northwest Regional Advisory Committee

12 October 2006 

Revised 11/27/06 

 
Meeting was called to order by Chair CB Crouse at 9am, a list of attendees is attached below as Appendix A. 
It was recalled that the previous meeting, two years ago, was focused on structural instrumentation. 
John Vidale began with a summary of the PNSN's mission and the geologic hazards of the region. He also described the recent staffing changes. 
 
Report of activities in the past two years - Steve Malone
 
Prior to about two years ago, there was a period of vigorous ANSS strong motion station installations. 
The deepest of the three borehole accelerometers in Seattle's Duwamish flood plain failed several months after its installation in fall of 2004. All attempts at recovery and repair failed. It had to be abandoned in place. 
The USGS's NEIC (National Earthquake Information Center) in Golden, Colorado has undergone substantial hardware and software upgrades using ANSS funds and the supplemental funding Congress provided as a result of the Indonesian tsunami of 2004. The NEIC now has seismic analysts on duty 24/7 and provides backup earthquake information in the event of a PNW regional disaster that interrupts the PNSN's ability to provide the information. Other national level work includes improvement of the CISN display and the updating and improvement of the earthquake data distribution software. 
In our region in 2005, K2 accelerometers were installed in Ashland at Southern Oregon University and at Umqua Community College in Roseberg. These installations were a joint effort of the USGS, UW, the universities and colleges mentioned above, and the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI). DOGAMI purchased all the equipment as part of its strong motion equipment installation program. 
CB Crouse asked about the ANSS National Steering Committee's priorities were for the next few years. Bodin and Malone responded to this. The points they made were: 
1. Standardization of software and hardware in the regional networks
2. Integration of regional networks into a true national system;
3. Establishment of clear performance standards.
Crouse suggested reexamination of the advisory committee membership because of the movement away from emphasis on station siting and installation to system integration issues. 
 
Bodin's presentation
 
Paul Bodin outlined the "Development, Modernization and Expansion" agenda that was part of the 3-year network operation proposal recently submitted to the USGS, which he had turned into a timeline chart, and distributed (attached here as Appendix B). In summary, its goals are to get more data into UW and produce useful products more quickly. 
 
Discussion regarding ways to improve PNSN earthquake information products
 
TJ McDonald would like more interaction between PNSN and data users so that users' feedback can be used in product improvement. He also wondered if there were effective ways to communicate to users the uncertainties in our products (e.g., accelerations shown on Shakemaps in areas where there is little or no instrumental data). 
Kathy Troost noted that her group has reclassified 16% of Seattle's land area as not being glacially overridden. This will have an impact on ground motion estimates. She also noted that detailed surface- and near-surface geologic mapping in the urban areas east of Lake Washington is lacking and needed. 
Mark Eberhard said that even in smaller earthquakes (M ~ 4.5 -5.5?) transportation engineers and officials need to decide whether or not to close down bridges until inspection can be done. Real-time or near real-time structural motion data for critical structures (e.g., 520 bridge, Alaska Way viaduct) used in conjunction with previously considered thresholds could be very helpful in making these decisions. Mark also noted that the lack of information about site response along Alaska Way Viaduct is a serious deficiency. 
TJ McDonald noted that infrastructure inspection decisions also need to be made at structures away from Seattle (for large earthquakes, or for earthquakes close to said structures). Examples include City Light dams on the Skagit and municipal reservoirs elsewhere in the western Cascades. 
CB Crouse commented that structural monitoring is expensive and that the ANSS, at its current funding level, is probably not going to be able to do much of it. 
Paul Bodin reiterated that the PNSN and ANSS need to continue to strive to present the data it collects in a fashion understandable to the non-seismologist users. 
 
Murdock proposal
 
Goal: to convert 15 of the EarthScope Transportable Array stations into permanent real-time broad-band stations. The cost per station is about $25,000. Each station will have a tri-axial accelerometer added to it. Sites in both WA and OR will be considered. 
Steve Malone said that Earthscope needs to decide which sites the PNSN wants to convert by February of 2007. 
The primary criteria for selection are low background noise, geographic distribution of the 15 stations within the rest of the network as a whole, ease of permitting, and viable affordable and reliable telemetry. Current telemetry cost averages $100/month/station, which is pretty expensive. 
As a list of sites is created, it will be circulated to this committee for comment before it is submitted to EarthScope. 
 
DOGAMI activity in Oregon
 
Vicki McConnell reported that she intends to ask for one-time funding of $100K from the Oregon legislature for instruments and continuing funding for a 1/2 FTE seismic technician for DOGAMI to help with installation of digital strong motion recorders and maintenance of PNSN equipment. A letter of support from the PNSN would be useful. 
She also noted that ODOT's bridge instrumentation program suffered from lack of maintenance of the units once they were installed. 
 
Possible Washington activity
 
Walsh - legislator Jim Buck looking to create building instrumentation legislation, perhaps modeled upon Oregon legislation. Mark Eberhard encouraged consultation with the Structural Engineers Association of Washington as this legislation is developed. 
 
Adoption of NSMP stations
 
The National Strong Ground Motion instrumentation program (run by the USGS) is in a period of major change. The regional seismic networks are being asked to assume operation and maintenance responsibility for some or all of these stations. 
CB Crouse - spoke in favor of retaining as many of these instruments as possible. Even non-real time data are valuable to engineers. 
Steve Palmer emailed some comments after the meeting, noting that some NSMP stations are in areas of Washington and Oregon that face significant seismic hazard, but currently lack any instrumentation. For that reason, it would be good if they could be preserved. 
 
Legacy SP network
 
The PNSN consists of legacy short-period seismometers that go off-scale at relatively small ground motions and record only vertical motions. Their advantage is reliability, ease of installation, and low power consumption. 
Digital broadband and strong-motion stations are expensive to install and consume a lot of power. Current technology for powering these kinds of instruments in remote settings is complicated and expensive. 
So, wholesale replacement of this network with digital seismographs is unlikely in the near future. 
CB queried if a study had been done to see if a subset of the legacy stations could be removed without greatly degrading monitoring and location capabilities. Such a study has not been done at the PNSN. 
 
Wrap up (including last comments on structural monitoring)
 
Earlier in the meeting we recalled that two years ago the entire meeting was devoted to the issue of structural monitoring. 
One of the outcomes of this was that a group of engineers, led by John Hooper, prepared a proposal to the ANSS external grants program for a structural monitoring in Bellevue. This proposal was rejected at either the pre-proposal or full proposal stage (no one at this meeting knew which it was). 
The reviewers apparently thought that there was better chance for results from building instrumentation in the more seismically active regions of California. 
Given the such a reception of structural monitoring proposals from the Northwest, it would seem that the National ANSS program wants to stick with ground motion measurements and basin response studies in the Pacific Northwest. 
Mark Eberhard still thought there was value to instrumenting one or two structures in our region (I-90, SR-520) . No single dominant idea for a user workshop surfaced at this meeting (so far as we can recall), but general enthusiasm was expressed for a range of ideas, including gathering a wider range of users, getting product feedback from first-responders, and connecting with the community that would benefit from instrumenting structures. 
Regarding this committee's composition: Vicki says it already represents some of the "stake holders", and those groups need to maintain their representation. 
Next meeting: January 2007, a set of proposed dates will be circulated soon. 
Meeting ended at 12:00. 
 
Action items
 
1. Re-examination of AC membership
2. Letter to Vicki explaining rationality of proposed Oregon PNSN funding.
3. Is there a workshop that should be convened soon, or can we wait until Jan?
4. Bill Steele will start to schedule date of next AC meeting.
5. Circulate this report to AC, then post.
 
Appendix A
 
Physical attendees: 
CB Crouse - consulting seismologist, URS Corp., AC Chair
George Crawford - Earthquake Program manager, Washington Division of Emergency Management
Vicki McConnell -- State Geologist, director of Oregon Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries
Bob Zimmerman - Boeing, president of CREW
Bill Perkins - Shannon and Wilson, consulting geotechnical engineer
Susan Chang - City of Seattle Bldg Dept.
T.J. McDonald - Seattle Emergency Management
Antonio Ginatta - senior policy analyst, Governor Gregoire's office
Tim Walsh - Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources (WA DGER)
Ray Cakir - geophysicist with WA DGER 
John Vidale -- UW Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences / PNSN Director / PNW-ANSS co-ordinator / State Seismologist
Paul Bodin -- UW Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences / Pacific Northwest Seismic Network Manager(PNSN)
Bill Steele -- UW Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences / PNSN
Steve Malone - recently retired director PNSN
Tom Yelin - USGS / PNSN
Joan Gomberg - US Geological Survey (USGS) / PNSN
Kathy Troost - Director of GeomapNW – The Center for Pacific Northwest Geologic Mapping Studies
Marc Eberhard - UW professor of structural engineering
 
Attendees via conference telephone:
Jay Wilson -- Oregon Emergency Management
Dwayne Wilson - Washington Department of Transportation
Steve Palmer - Geophysicist in
 
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