Temple resumes monitoring earthquakes - 6at4

October 12, 2012 2:39:55 PM PDT
Scientists have been busy at Temple University's Ambler campus this week. They have re-installed a seismometer at the school to monitor seismic activity along the East Coast.

The broad-band seismometer was first installed in a wooded area of Temple's Ambler campus in 2010. It recorded the 5.8 earthquake that shook the Philadelphia region on August 23, 2011.

"The Virginia earthquake that cracked the (Washington) Monument and rattled Philadelphia, that was picked up here loud and clear," according to

It also recorded the 9.0 quake that caused Japan's tsunami.

In August, Jonathan Nyquist, who is coordinator of Temple University's seismometer project, got a call that there was a problem with its data transmission.

"So I came out here..cracked the vault and found out it was filled up with water..right up to the top," Nyquist said.

The vault that houses the unit had been flooded by heavy rains.

Researchers with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory returned with the seismometer from Columbia University this week after it went through repairs. They also had workers fix a crack in an underground pipe conduit that they think allowed the water to seep in.

"We'll be watching the next couple of weeks to make sure the data's coming back clean and there'll be other seismometers on the east coast we can compare records with to make sure it's seeing good data at the right times," Nyquist said.

The data is posted in real-time on the Lamont-Doherty seismic website. Every station gets a 4-letter code and Temple's is TUPA for Temple University, Pennsylvania. It fills a void in the region's earthquake monitoring network. It's also helping researchers understand the forces that create rare, but potentially destructive earthquakes.

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