Seismo Blog

OOPS - Correction to last post

April 11, 2019

by Steve Malone

It just goes to show you that an old, retired seismologist should NOT make geodetic interpretations based on GPS data... when he doesn't have access to or maybe understand the data sources.  My previous post asserted that there were no observable displacements associated with the recent ongoing tremor in the northern and southern Puget Sound area.  These "observations" were based on my using plots from two US Geological Survey systems that I did not properly interpret.  Dr. Heidi Houston (previously of the UW but now at USC) pointed out to me that the most recent data shown in my graphics only went up through mid-March.  I had assumed that they went through the end of March.  I also drew inaccurate conclusions based on my limited understanding of data provided by the USGS Earthquake Hazards GPS monitoring page. At the risk of sticking my neck out again I am now going to say that it turns out that there are observable displacements in the GPS data.

The operators at Central Washington University for the PANGA geodetic network provided plots yesterday that I (even a retired seismologist) can interpret as showing typical ETS displacements (I hope I am interpreting them correctly). I still see no significant GPS displacements in the northern Puget Sound (north of Seattle), but there are small displacements near Seattle and significant ones in southern Puget Sound all the way south to the latitude of Mount St. Helens.  I show two sections of plots illustrating this below, the first from central Puget Sound, the second from farther south.

Central Puget Sound Stations. Note that in the above plot one can easily see the ETS-related displacements of May, 2018 particularly on stations, SSHO, KTBW, ELSR and P419.  For the most recent times (up through early Apr. 2019) displacements are also seen, particularly on SMAI and OYLR and perhaps a small one on KTBW. All of these stations are in the Seattle area.  Stations to the north of these show no to very little displacement. Even here the displacement signals are fairly short and small, perhaps in agreement with the short duration of tremor in this region (Mar 9 - Mar 14).

Southern Puget Sound and farther south Stations. In this case some stations show the displaements due to the end of the Oregon ETS that progressed into southern Washington in Jan. 2018.  But also several stations have very obvious, fairly large recent displacements (THUN, CPXX, P420, and P421).  Thus, at least the south end of the Puget Sound zone seems to be having a significant ETS while to the north it doesn't seem to really be much, yet.

Those who would like to see exacly where these stations are and more position traces can find the very good set of web pages at regionally grouped daily plots done by PANGA.  There was a problem with their automatic plotting routines over the last several months until they got it fixed yesterday.

In my previous post I said there were three obsevations that indicated we were not yet having a real, classical ETS: timing, tremor strength and no displacements.  The timing still seems too early, and the strength seems too weak.  Of course, that strength observation was only very qualitative from visual inspection of some envelopes.  It could easily change once the new version of the wech-o-meter is ready and producing data for this period.  Thus, I am starting to agree more and more with Dr. Wech's comments about the system being more of a continuum such that total slip in a limmited area will average out over a longer period, but the nature and timing of each slip period can vary.  Indeed, the past few "classical" ETS events have not been as "classical" as those between 2005 and 2012.  While still on the roughly 12-14 month interval they have extended over different areas and propogated in different ways.  The current period may just have some additional differences in how it will develop with a much earlier than normal, hesitant start.

In asking several others about their thoughts on the current situation I got the following from Dr. Houston that I include with only minor editing.  She has studied tremor in this region quite extensively with a number of published papers on aspects of the way tremor propogates and its relationship to observed Geodetic slip.  Her comments:

Interesting.  Well, this event is low on hours of tremor (thus far) and apparently has weak amplitudes, so conventional wisdom would predict that it will also be low on slip. 
I guess the question is how low, and probably we can't tell yet. But we may yet see some signal (maybe ratty) in the GPS, once it is processed and more is available.
 
Others could address the relation between hours of tremor and inverted moment for
the six events in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. As you have discussed, after 2012, the propagation of many (all?) of the ETSs was complex and jumped then backtracked etc. This makes inverting for time-dependent slip, or even just total slip more difficult because it is harder to define and estimate the total offset in the GPS.
 
Is this a 'real ETS'? It is too soon to say right now. If it doesn't resume, I would expect some more activity to make up some slip, but it might not be a 'real ETS' either. Maybe we will have 2-3 small ones. Also I wouldn't be shocked if none of the above happened. I more or less agree with Aaron's point of view and would emphasize that each one (big ETS) is somewhat unique, some more than others. Most or all of the last five have seemed significantly more complex than 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 (except it was preceded by an ETS thru Oregon), and 2012 (which propagated south and initiated updip).
 
In a way, the situation is similar to that of regular earthquake foreshocks, which can't be identified until the mainshock happens...
 
In brief I would say the '14-month ETS' has not been that regular in time, size, or space,
and, additionally, as Aaron said, all that tremor means (some) slip was occurring, so I dont really take to the acronym eTs.
 
OK, I am becoming more convinced than ever that it is unwise to make "predictions" about what tremor-slip may or may not do and what a "classical ETS" might be. I take back the 'eTs'  acronym, particularly when I miss-interpret data outside my specific area of expertise.  Even though it is hard to resist, in the future I promise to only report what has been observed and not try to "predict" what might come next.  I should have learned by now.  If one goes back to many of my previous posts you will see that I was wrong almost all of the time, at least in some aspect of a prediction.
 
Again, does this "correction" have any implications for earthquake hazards?  No! Nothing has changed here.  One thing we can all agree on is that a "normal" ETS is almost never normal. Not only do we not understand why they have some similar aspects and other things change, but we don't understand their relevance to earthquake hazard either.

The following added in the afternoon of Apr 11, 2019

I have had some notes sent to me by two REAL geodesists.  I feel these are worth adding to this blog, maybe to help clarify details of the GPS type data and their interpretations... at least for me.

The following is from Brendan Crowell, a Research Scientist, with the PNSN specializing in Geodesy and earthquake early warning who addresses specifically the issue of the northern Puget Sound ETS:

I wouldn't feel too embarrassed about this one, this is certainly a tricky one to spot on the GPS. My opinion is only 4 of the stations on Tim's plots have a decent signal (CPXX, P420, P421, and THUN). In the north, maybe SMAI but none of the other stations (I could see getting tripped up by OLYR but that one looks like long-period colored noise to me). I looked at an array of time series last week when you asked and either nothing was there or the most updated positions were unavailable.  P421 is probably the most historically clean, with really nice ETS signals in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 but showing nothing for this recent one. 
 
Hopefully as more final orbit solutions come onboard, we can say more definitively whats going on.
 
OK, I feel a little better.  Yep, what is going on in the north is subtle.  But, in the south, I think it is pretty clear.  I got the following note from Tim Melbourne who is the head honcho at PANGA and just got back in town on Monday and has appologized for not having his nice regionally grouped plots by component avallable to the public before yesterday. He writes refering in particular to the south of Puget Sound area:
 
All time series on the CWU plots are PPP, they've just been detrended, deseasoned and destatic-offset'ed for all earthquakes and hardware changes (except SSEs) in order to better show spatial correlation of the SSEs.  This is why they look flat over 10+ years.

It's fairly clear an event is ongoing, if not just finished up, mostly down SW of southern Puget Sound.  Look at this cluster:
http://www.panga.cwu.edu/data/wusdaily/WWH/

Below I show a recent  section of this web page that illustrates very well what Tim is talking about.  Some of the stations with offsets are actually pretty far west, not too far from the coast.  Interesting.

I plan to wait at least a while to see what if anything happens in the next week or so but then document things in the future as I have done in the past at the regular: ETS event of Summer 2019 blog type page.

 

When is an ETS just T

April 8, 2019

by Steve Malone

Current ongoing Puget Sound deep tremor is probably NOT a real, classic ETS. There are several reasons why we think so.

March 2019 Washington Tremor

March 29, 2019

by Mouse Reusch

To be tremor, or not to be tremor. That is the question...

Earthquakes and Volcanoes; Warnings?

March 14, 2019

by Nicholas Park

Comparing earthquake and volcano early warning systems from a lay perspective.
We have removed our seismic stations from the Rattlesnake Ridge landslide even though it continues to slowly move.

Come for the pretty pictures, stay for the science.

November 30, 2018

by Alex Hutko

Sea monsters, beautiful waves, and twitter scientists.

Something Scary at the PNSN just before Halloween

October 29, 2018

by Steve Malone

Our primary operating computer system will be changing hardware and some software on Oct 30.

Current ShakeAlert Implementation and Partners

October 19, 2018

by Elizabeth Urban

Following this week's Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill, we thought it would be appropriate to talk about the local progress in earthquake early warning.

Rattlesnake Ridge Landslide slowing down

July 9, 2018

by Steve Malone

Update Aug 5, 2018. From 180 tiny events/hour back in March the landslide is producing only about 100 events/hour now. Update Aug 5, 2018.

MSH Anniversary Media Round-Up

May 18, 2018

by Elizabeth Urban

A collection of news stories on the 38th anniversary of the Mount St. Helens eruption
The final blog about The M9 Project is going to focus on you. What are you going to experience during a megathrust earthquake? How do we connect science and community? What should you do to be prepared?

Landslide Study with Nodal Seismographs

March 26, 2018

by Amanda Thomas

A special seismic array for studying the RattleSnake Landslide. March 26, 2018

Seismology in the air

March 22, 2018

by Steve Malone

A bolide explosion off the coast is recorded on many seismic stations allowing us to get an approximate location.

Continued Landslide Monitoring

February 11, 2018

by Steve Malone

Steady landslide motion still of seismic interest. Update on March 26, 2018

January 2018 Oregon Tremor Event Update

January 31, 2018

by Nancy Sackman

Oregon tremor over!
In the previous blog post about The M9 Project, we talked about how the Cascadia Subduction Zone can generate an M9.0 earthquake. However, our understanding of what an earthquake of this scale would actually look like is less advanced. While we have evidence of past earthquakes (e.g., native oral histories, tsunami records), we have no quantitative observations of how strong the shaking would be during a megathrust earthquake in the Pacific Northwest.

Seismic monitoring of a slow landslide

December 30, 2017

by Steve Malone

Active landslide at Union Gap. Updated Jan 31, 2018.

December 2017 Oregon Tremor Event - Update

December 27, 2017

by Nancy Sackman

Update to Central Oregon Tremor - moving toward Portland and Medford

December 2017 Oregon Tremor Event

December 15, 2017

by Nancy Sackman

Over the past 9-10 days, it appears that tremor in central Oregon has picked up.
What is “The Big One” going to look like? How soon will we know it’s coming? How are our cities and communities going to fare?

Entiat area earthquakes and other seismicity

August 9, 2017

by Steve Malone

A few questions have popped up about earthquakes near Entiat, WA. I might as well address these and a few other questions.

Earthquake swarm NE of Bremerton

May 11, 2017

by Renate Hartog

Earthquake swarm near Bremerton; what is going on?

Volcano Preparedness May 2017

May 1, 2017

by Nancy Sackman

May is Volcano Preparedness Month for Washington State
On Monday morning (April 10) the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) was buzzing with activity, but not seismic activity. The Network hosted a press conference to announce the rollout of a new version of the earthquake early warning (EEW) system, ShakeAlert, which is now fully integrated across the entire West Coast of the United States.

Next ETS Expected any time now

January 24, 2017

by Steve Malone

Already over and then going again. Back-to-back ETS and finally over as of Apr 6.

December 2017 Oregon Tremor Event

December 15, 2017

by Nancy Sackman

December 2017 Oregon Tremor Event

 

Over the past 9-10 days, it appears that tremor in central Oregon has picked up (Figure 1).  The last slow slip and tremor event was in February 2016, 22 months ago.  

 

Figure 1

Figure 1. Age progression of tremor in central Oregon for the past 9 days.  Earliest tremor locations start from 12/5/2017 and propagate roughly outward, clustering near Salem and Roseburg.  Last update was December 14, 2017.


 

Tremor is the release of seismic noise from slow slip along the interface of the Juan de Fuca and North American plates and lasts for several weeks to months.  This process is known as Episodic Tremor and Slip (ETS).  Slow slip happens down-dip of the locked zone (Figure 2).  The locked zone is where tectonic stress builds up until it releases in a great earthquake or megaquake.  The recurrence interval of slow slip and tremor varies at different regions along the Cascadia Subduction Zone.  

 

Figure 2

Figure 2. Cross section of the subducting Juan de Fuca Plate.  Figure from Vidale, J. and Houston H.  (2012) Slow slip:  A new kind of earthquake (Physics Today, 2012 pages 38-43).

 

The last ETS event in Cascadia started in February 2017 around the western edge of the Olympic Mountains.  The duration was approximately 35 days with a two-week quiescent period.  Prior ETS events in northern Washington/Vancouver Island area was approximately December 2015.  

 

The last ETS event in central Oregon was 2016 and lasted just over a week before it stopped on March 1, 2016.  

 

ETS events are still being studied to understand the processes about slow slip and megathrust earthquakes.  


More information about slow slip and tremor can be found here on the PNSN website.

December 2017 Oregon Tremor Event - Update

December 27, 2017

by Nancy Sackman

Tremor has continued in Oregon since the last post on December 15th.  Current tremor activity has been ongoing since about 12/5/2017 (figure 1).  

 

Figure 1

Figure 1. Age progression of tremor in central Oregon for the past two weeks.  Earliest tremor locations start from 12/5/2017 and propagate northerly and southerly.  Last update was December 26, 2017.

 

Since December 19th, tremor has now migrated northerly toward Portland and southerly toward Medford (figure 2).

 

Figure 2

Figure 2. Tremor activity from 12/19 to 12/26 showing progression in a northern and southerly direction.

More FAQs on Slow Slip and Tremor

 

On our previous blog post, we briefly discussed what ETS (episodic tremor and slip) is.  Let’s go through a couple of more frequently asked questions.

 

1.What is tremor?

 

Tremor in the Cascadia Subduction Zone is the seismic noise of slow moving earthquake along the interface of the subducting Juan de Fuca Plate and the North American plates.  Compared to normal earthquakes, tremor has lower frequency energy and can last for minutes, hours or weeks.

 

2. What about volcanic tremor?

 

Tremor can also be volcanic.  But ETS is deep, non volcanic signatures that are a result of plate motion, not magmatic movement.

 

3. How deep are the tremors?

 

As it states on our website - “This is a topic of ongoing research.”  But research suggests that it occurs near the plate interface at approximately 30 - 40 km deep.   

 

4. What is the magnitude of tremor?

 

Tremor is probably made up of many tiny individual earthquake-like sources each with a "magnitude" of less than 1. Since tremor is an on-going continuous signal assigning a magnitude to it is never done.  


 

Check out the map on our web page:

 

https://pnsn.org/tremor

 

In the previous blog post about The M9 Project, we talked about how the Cascadia Subduction Zone can generate an M9.0 earthquake. However, our understanding of what an earthquake of this scale would actually look like is less advanced. While we have evidence of past earthquakes (e.g., native oral histories, tsunami records), we have no quantitative observations of how strong the shaking would be during a megathrust earthquake in the Pacific Northwest.

To address this problem, researchers with The M9 Project used 3D computer simulations to help understand what 50 different realizations of an M9.0 earthquake could look like in Cascadia. To create these simulations, The M9 Project researchers used multiple supercomputers: Stampede (University of Texas - Austin), Constance (Pacific Northwest National Lab), and Hyak (University of Washington). A single earthquake simulation took up to 46 hours to complete. If it was possible to run these earthquake models on a personal computer (many of which have a mere 2 processors, compared to the 576 processors used to run these simulations on a supercomputer), it would take about 522 days to complete one simulation.

 

Why are earthquake simulations important?

 

 

The unique properties of the Cascadia Subduction Zone prevents a side-by-side comparison between a future Cascadia earthquake, and other earthquakes that have occured around the world. For instance, an M9.0 earthquake in Japan, Chile, or Indonesia may look very different from an M9.0 in the Pacific Northwest.

 

Scientists have developed equations that can estimate the strength of ground shaking based on an earthquake’s magnitude and a specific location’s distance from the fault. However, these equations still rely on averages, and do not fully account for location specific 3-D effects (i.e., “How will seismic waves bounce around in the Seattle basin?”). Conversely, the supercomputer earthquake simulations, while still having some unknowns, can estimate shaking at every point in the Pacific Northwest, and are specific to the geologic conditions of the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

 

 

How are these earthquake simulations created?

Out of an infinite number of possibilities, 50 simulations of an M9.0 earthquake were run by The M9 Project team. The individual earthquake scenarios had a few important variations between them, that made each earthquake source unique:  (1) the hypocenter location (i.e., where the earthquake starts), (2) how far inland the rupture extends (i.e., how close the earthquake gets to major inland cities, such as Seattle), (3) the location of “sticky patches” on the fault, that generate the strongest ground shaking, and (4) the slip distribution on the fault (i.e., how far certain areas on the fault move during the earthquake).

 

Are certain earthquake scenarios “better” or “worse”?

The area affected by a megathrust earthquake is large enough that the outcome is going vary by location. A “best-case” scenario for one area in the Pacific Northwest could be a “worst-case” scenario somewhere else in the region.

One of the results of the computer simulations showed that when an M9.0 earthquake occurs on the Cascadia Subduction Zone, less violent shaking may be felt closer to the epicenter. This is because an earthquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone will not occur at a single point -- instead, it will rupture a very large area. As the rupture moves along the fault, the seismic waves will start to “pile up,” similar to the Doppler Effect.

 

As the waves at the front of the rupture combine, their amplitudes get larger and create more violent ground motion. Therefore, locations closer to the hypocenter may receive less complex and destructive seismic waves than locations that are farther along the rupture and experience this “piling-up” of seismic energy.

In these two videos, notice how Seattle's mock seismogram has larger spikes (which denotes stronger ground motion) when the earthquake source is farther south, and the fault ruptures north.

BetterForSeattle_3DMovie

WorseForSeattle_3DMovie

This variation by location makes it virtually impossible to award a scenario the title “best-case” for the entire Pacific Northwest.

 

Can we do even better?

These computer simulations are the most accurate representations of what an M9.0 earthquake would look like in the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately, there is a lot of variability in these calculations because there are still too many unknowns. An increase in seismic and GPS instrumentation throughout the Pacific Northwest, especially offshore, will help us identify more specifics about the Cascadia Subduction Zone and improve future computer simulations. For instance, we may be able to determine where “sticky patches” are located on the fault and obtain a more detailed image of the 3D structure of the subduction zone. Further constraining these variables in the computer simulations will ultimately help us refine our estimates of seismic hazards in the Pacific Northwest.

 

Special Thanks To

 

Dr. Erin Wirth, UW Affiliate Assistant Professor

 

 

M9 Simulation coverage from UW News

 

50 simulations of the 'Really Big One' show how a M9.0 Cascadia earthquake could play out - Hannah Hickey

 

Flickr Album

We are going to have The Big One. That’s a fact.

 

The final blog about The M9 Project is going to focus on you. What are you going to experience during a megathrust earthquake? How do we connect science and community? What should you do to be prepared?

 

The Next Stages of The M9 Project

 

Seismologists are not the only contributors to The M9 Project. Civil engineers, urban design and planners, statisticians, social scientists and public policy researchers also play a role in determining earthquake risk, safety measures, and public response to hazards.

 

Understanding the hazards and mechanisms of an earthquake is one thing, communicating effectively to the public is a completely different ball game. The next steps of The M9 Project focus on how we define and discuss hazards with communities.

 

For example, how does the way we design hazard maps affect how communities approach hazard planning? (See photo below) Or, how can hazards planning be steered towards rebuilding to community-specific values?

 

 

From assessing the utility of hazard maps (see image below), to hosting community planning workshops , The M9 Project’s research into “long term” preparedness- mitigation, response, and recovery focuses on how to best help you. We will discuss what to expect when the big one hits, as well as some resources so you can take steps to prepare .

 

Learning about Cascadia from other Large Earthquakes

 

The last megathrust earthquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone occurred in 1700 AD, before written records were kept in the region. In addition to The M9 Project research at UW, we can also look to observations of other major earthquakes worldwide, to help us predict what The Big One may look like in the Pacific Northwest.

 

Ground Shaking

 

A magnitude 9 earthquake will generate very strong shaking for several minutes. The intensity, measured by the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale (MMI), is determined by observations during an earthquake. Shaking tends to decrease farther away from the fault and will vary with local soil conditions, so intensity will vary by location. A more detailed description on intensity can be found here.

 

Below is a comparison of the shaking intensity from the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, compared to a hypothetical  M9.0 earthquake scenario. A megathrust earthquake will be felt over a much larger area, and generate stronger shaking.

 

 

 

You can find more about how magnitude and intensity are related here.

 

As part of The M9 Project, UW civil engineers are researching building response to strong ground shaking from a magnitude 9.0 earthquake in Seattle. This video from Kinetica Dynamics shows skyscrapers in Tokyo shaking from the 2011 M9.0 Japan earthquake.

 

 

Tsunami

 

Large earthquakes on a subduction zone are capable of generating large tsunamis. For example, the 2004 M9.1 Sumatra earthquake resulted in a 30+ meter high tsunami on the west coast of Sumatra (source). For more about tsunamis, visit our tsunami overview page.

 

This NOAA video models the tsunami from the 1700 Cascadia earthquake, which caused damage and loss of life as close as the west coast of North America, and as far away as Japan.  

 

 

We expect the next great Cascadia earthquake to be similar. As mentioned in our first M9 Project blog post, the record of past megathrust earthquakes can be found in muddy estuaries on the coast of the Pacific Northwest. In the layers of coast that have subsided and been filled again, there are bands of sand brought inland by tsunami waves, time and time again. Here is a article written by the American Museum of Natural History with more information on the Ghost Forests on the PNW.

 

Liquefaction

 

For liquefaction to occur, three things must happen. (1) Young, loose and grainy soil (2) needs to be saturated with water, and (3) experience strong ground shaking. The USGS, in coordination with California Geological Survey, give a summary of liquefaction and its effects here.

 

This video from the 2011 M9.0 Japan earthquake shows dramatic cracks in the ground, as well as liquefaction.

 

 

Our webpage on liquefaction includes video of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, as well as links to liquefaction hazard maps for Washington and Oregon.

 

Landslides

 

Strong shaking can increase susceptibility to landslides.

 

This blog from the American Geophysical Union details some of the significant landslides in Paupa New Guniea that were triggered by a M7.5 earthquake on February 25th, 2011.

 

The Pacific Northwest is susceptible to landslides due to seasonal conditions, and strong shaking will increase landslide risk. Here are some resources from the states of Washington and Oregon.

 

Building Damage and Fires

 

The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake caused widespread damage to infrastructure, such as the collapse of the Cypress Viaduct in Oakland, and fires in the San Francisco area.

 

Major cities in the Pacific Northwest would be just as susceptible to fire damage, and the construction of the Cypress Viaduct bears a striking resemblance to Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct.

 

 

So, What Can I Do?

 

In order to prepare effectively, it is important to be aware of all earthquake-related hazards, such as the ones listed above. The following websites are great resources for earthquake hazards and preparedness in the Pacific Northwest. We encourage you to know your risks, be prepared, mitigate against hazards, respond safely, and enagae in holistic recovery planning.

 

In the event of an earthquake, don't forget to drop, cover and hold!

 

Special Thanks To

 

Dr. Erin Wirth, Affiliate Professor, University of Washington

Lan T. Nguyen, Doctoral Student, Interdisciplinary Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington

 

 

MSH Anniversary Media Round-Up

May 18, 2018

by Elizabeth Urban

On May 18th, 1980, at 8:32 AM, the landscape in Southwestern Washington was forever changed by an explosive eruption of Mount St. Helens. This was the most deadly volcanic event in US history. 

Mount St. Helens is part of the Cascade Range, a chain of volcanoes from British Columbia to Northern California. The PNSN and the Cascades Volcano Observatory cooperatively operate 21 seismometers on or near Mount St. Helens, the most historically active volcano in the Cascade Range.

Seismogram of May 18th from one of our seismic stations. 

Main PNSN Page on Mount St. Helens

Main CVO Page on Mount St. Helens

 

On the anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens, earth science gets its day in the spotlight. Here's a collection of news stories about the eruption and what we have learned about volcanoes since 1980.

38 years later: What's changed since the Mount St. Helens Eruption? 
- Q13 News 

Features an interview with PNSN DIrector Emeritus Steve Malone

 

Mount St. Helens: Remembering the deadliest U.S. eruption 38 years later
- USA Today, King 5 News

Summary of events on May 18th, 1980 with photo galleries

Lessons Learned: Mount St. Helens to Kilauea
- King 5 News

Interview filmed in the PNSN Seismology Lab with Director Emeritus Steve Malone

 

Remembering Mt. St. Helens as Cascade event looms
- KOIN 6

Event overview, brief discussion of Cascade hazards, and dispels concern of a Kilauea-triggered event in the Cascades.

Photos: The Mt. St. Helens eruption of 1980
- KOIN 6

Includes an interview with CVO Scientist-In-Charge Seth Moran

 

Scientists Reflect on the Catastrophic 1980 Mount St. Helens Eruption
- Ashley Williams, AccuWeather

Details about the activity that led to the eruption, how life in the MSH area fared, and another Steve Malone feature. 

 

How Dangerous are the Northwest's Volcanoes?
-KUOW, Oregon Public Broadcasting

Interview with CVO Scientist-In-Charge Seth Moran, discusses Oregon volcano hazards

Current ShakeAlert Implementation and Partners

October 19, 2018

by Elizabeth Urban

Following this week's Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill, we thought it would be approproate to talk about some of the local progress in earthquake early warning. Below is a summary of of our partners for pilot projects in Oregon and Washington.

This blog will be updated with our Washington partners soon!


Impact of Oregon ShakeAlert Pilot Partnership Projects

Lucy Walsh

October 16, 2018

 

Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB)

  • Eugene Water & Electric Board provides water and electricity to 200,000 customers in Eugene, as well as parts of east Springfield and the McKenzie River Valley.  EWEB is Oregon's largest customer-owned utility.

  • EWEB owns and maintains 800 miles of water pipes, 9 power generating facilities, 16,000 power poles and transmission towers, and 13,000 miles of power lines.

  • The Leaburg Canal pilot project will enhance protection for a 1920s-era earthen power canal that is seismically vulnerable to earthquake-triggered landslides from steep slopes above the canal and potential instabilities of the constructed embankments. Automated dewatering of the canal can prevent canal breaches that might follow heavy shaking, protecting residential properties located between the canal and the McKenzie River. A canal breach could impact several hundred residential properties neighboring the canal.   The potential costs associated with canal breach damage could easily reach tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.

  • The Carmen-Smith pilot project will reduce the potential for earthquake damage to hydroelectric turbine-generator equipment at the Carmen Power Plant. Automatic closure of turbine shutoff valves and a power tunnel intake gate could prevent heavy damage to equipment and associated infrastructure. Preventing or mitigating damage to this critical power generating facility would position EWEB to return electric power to tens of thousands of customers sooner than might otherwise be possible if major equipment repairs were first necessary. The potential costs associated with repairing major damage to power generating equipment could approach 100 million dollars and take multiple years to accomplish.

 

Bridge Section, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)

  • Oregon Department of Transportation serves all the citizens of Oregon and those traveling through Oregon. Over 36 billion miles were driven by all motorists on Oregon public roads and over 5.2 Billion miles were driven by domestic and international freight trucks on Oregon public roads (Oregon Trucking Association, 2018).

  • In Oregon, there are nearly 3.1 million licensed drivers and roughly 4.1 million registered vehicles; of those, about 3.2 million are passenger vehicles (Oregon DMV, 2018).

  • ODOT delivers a $6B budget in the form of capital improvement and maintenance of the highway system and works with cities and counties (local agencies) to oversee the use of $105 million in federal funds for capital improvement and maintenance of the local agency road systems.

  • Automatic triggering of warning lights on critical, heavy trafficked Oregon bridges not designed for seismic loads, and signaling to take alternate routes on can prevent life safety hazards for pedestrians and motor vehicles. Long-span bridges under the ODOT pilot project include the Interstate 5 Bridge (Portland), the Astoria-Megler Bridge (Astoria), the Yaquina Bay Bridge (Newport), the McCullough Memorial Bridge (Coos Bay), and the Isaac Lee Patterson (Gold Beach).

    • The I-5 Interstate bridge connecting Portland, OR to Vancouver, WA can see hourly traffic volumes upwards of 5,000 vehicles (SW Washington RTD, 2016)

    • Annual average daily traffic (ODOT Transportation Development Division, 2015)

      • Interstate 5 Bridge, Portland = 132,300 vehicles

      • Astoria-Megler Bridge, Astoria = 8,200 vehicles

      • Yaquina Bay Bridge, Newport = 17,000 vehicles

      • McCullough Memorial Bridge, Coos Bay = 13,600 vehicles

      • Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge, Gold Beach = 6,200 vehicles

 

Syn-Apps

  • Syn-Apps provides software solutions for delivering mass emergency alerts across an entire business’ communication platform. Auto notification can warn all Syn-Apps customers of impending shaking and provide them the ability to protect their people and their business’ physical assets.

  • Emergency alerts sent from the Syn-Apps Revolution software to indoor IP speakers, outdoor loud horns, digital signs, mobile phones, desktop computers, strobes / beacons, IP desk phones, etc. can be heard or seen by potentially thousands of people located on premise. In addition, organizations can alert people that may be located off-premise by external notification sources such as push notifications to cell phones, SMS text messages, email, or automated dial phone calls.

  • Syn-Apps provides alerting software to 46 companies across 27 cities in Oregon, and to wherever those businesses install the Syn-Apps software (“end points”).  Syn-Apps estimates they have licensed more than 23,000 endpoints in Oregon alone. Syn-Apps also delivers alerting software to customers across the nation, including 270 customers in California and 55 customers in Washington, and 35+ countries.   

  • K-12 education makes up a large portion (~25%) of the Syn-Apps customer base.


 

Central Power Station, Utilities & Energy Department, Campus Planning & Facilities Management, University of Oregon

  • The Central Power Station (CPS) is a District Energy provider, providing electrical power, heating steam, and chilled water to over 80 large buildings on the UO campus through 5 miles of concrete tunnels, servicing 29,500 students and staff on campus.  

  • UO has the ability to transmit electrical power to the local utility EWEB, and is therefore a potential emergency power source for nearby city government, law enforcement and hospital buildings and up to 100,000 residents

  • Automatic alert signals integrated into the control systems can prevent life threatening conditions, minimize steam ruptures or flooding, as well as minimize the time and cost of restoring critical systems.  Future applications will potentially protect students and staff across campus through a visual notification display.

  • Additionally, automatic actions on critical chilled water and natural gas systems can protect critical university functions, such as computing servers and sensitive research.

  • Approximately 23,000 students are enrolled and 6,500 people are employed at the University of Oregon.  51% of students are from Oregon; 37% of are out-of-state; 12% are international.

 

Oregon-based RH2 Engineering Partnerships

RH2 Engineering an engineering firm specializing in utility and infrastructure work for municipal clients throughout the Pacific Northwest, known for designing and implementing municipal control systems and emergency response plans for both water and wastewater utilities. RH2’s industrial-grade Advanced Seismic Control (ASC) device receives the ShakeAlert warning signal, translates it into time to shaking and predicted intensity, and triggers automated actions. RH2 has implemented over 50 customized automatic control systems throughout various municipal water supply systems in the Pacific Northwest. These systems are known to be reliable and robust.

 

Department of Public Works, City of Grants Pass, OR

  • The City of Grants Pass owns and manages a water supply, treatment and distribution system for 40,000 citizens.

  • The system consists of a surface water source, a water treatment plant, 8 treated water storage reservoirs, 13 pump stations, and 188 miles of water distribution mains.

  • Initially, use of the ShakeAlert signal will notify City public works staff to get to safety and to isolate water in the City’s largest water reservoir, preserving it for post-event recovery for thousands of citizens. Future phases will likely protect additional equipment (such as all pump stations and treatment plant process equipment in both the water and wastewater treatment plants), and notify all City staff to get to safety.

  • Shutting down motorized equipment prior to actual shaking occurring can save roughly $200,000 of equipment. Though difficult to predict, cost savings due to reduced fire risk from shutting down power at facilities could range in the millions of dollars.

Public Works Department, City of Albany, OR

  • The City owns and operates a water system and wastewater system to serve approximately 53,000 City customers, as well as the adjacent communities Millersburg and Dumbeck Lane Water District.

  • The City’s joint water system consists of 2 shared surface water sources, 2 water treatment plants, 7 treated water storage reservoirs, 6 pump stations, and 290 miles of water distribution main. The wastewater system is comprised of over 200 miles of sewer main and 14 lift stations delivering wastewater to the jointly owned Albany-Millersburg Water Reclamation Facility.

  • Automatic isolation of water in a critical storage reservoir will preserve water for post-event recovery. The City will also use the signal to notify public works operations staff for further actions at facilities, possibly including the water and wastewater treatment plants, the 6 pump stations, 14 lift stations, and additional reservoirs.

  • Protection of this equipment could save in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Though difficult to predict, cost savings due to reduced fire risk from shutting down power at facilities could range in the millions of dollars.

City of Gresham, OR

  • The City of Gresham owns and manages a water supply and distribution system for 70,000 citizens, with assistance from two contracted partners.

  • The Gresham water system includes 9 pump stations, 7 water storage reservoirs, and miles of cast iron and ductile iron water mains.

  • Automatic notifications will alert public works operations staff for potential actions at facilities, including automated shutdown of motorized equipment at the water treatment plant, the 9 pump stations, and some of the reservoirs.

  • Protection of this equipment could save in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Though difficult to predict, cost savings due to reduced fire risk from shutting down power at facilities could range in the millions of dollars.

South Fork Water Board (SFWB)

  • The South Fork Water Board supplies drinking water to over 100,000 people in Oregon City, West Linn, and some unincorporated areas of Clackamas County.

  • The SFWB owns and manages a water supply system consisting of a large intake and pump station on the Clackamas River, an advanced water treatment plant, 2 treated water storage tanks, 1 major pump station, and several miles of transmission mains for supplying water to other utilities.

  • Automatic notifications to management and operations staff can provide time to shut down power and chemical systems at the water treatment plant, therefore improving recovery times, and evacuate unsafe areas. In addition, power to facilities can be cut to prevent fires and allow safe operator egress from areas that may be damaged or chemically contaminated.

  • Protection of this equipment could save in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Though difficult to predict, cost savings due to reduced fire risk from shutting down power at facilities could range in the millions of dollars.

 

Rogue Valley Council of Governments (RVCOG)

  • As a ShakeAlert Facilitation partner, Rogue Valley Council of Government provides communication and technical expertise to local partners on ShakeAlert information and products.  

  • RVCOG’s focus is on post-event recovery for critical infrastructure and staff members of water, sewer, public safety, public health, transit, land use and transportation planning, government staff, and non-profit disaster relief organizations.

  • RVCOG’s engaged partners across Josephine (population: 84,745) and Jackson county (population: 212,567) include all 15 local governments, 8 additional entities (special districts and higher education) and non-member entities of Providence Hospital, Asante Hospital, Pacific Power, Avista, the Oregon Department of Forestry, ACCESS, the Rogue Valley Manor, Data Center West, and Josephine County 911.

  • All entities involved, approximately 2,000 staff are within the influence of RVCOG partner’s ShakeAlert software installs.  When the 911 call centers in both counties have introduced the software installations into their operations, many thousand more can potentially be impacted.


This blog will be updated with our Washington partners soon!