The second A in AACSE stands for Amphibious – fully encompassing the entire subduction zone requires making measurements on land and at sea. The onshore part of the program involves installing instruments on Kodiak Island, the Shumagin Islands (west of Kodiak), the Alaska Peninsula and the region around Katmai National Park. These 30 instruments will be placed in remote locations (red circles on the map) and comprise seismometers that are buried and connected to small data loggers and batteries on the surface. Most of the sites are accessed by float planes or small fixed-wing planes, and are being deployed over the next four weeks (mid-May to mid-June). One team of three people is installing 13 sites on Kodiak island, and a second team is deploying the rest of the sites on the mainland and Shumagin Islands.
Today the Kodiak team started their first day of work! Like working at sea, the initial work involves unpacking all the gear shipped from across the country, and testing and assembling everything. Our seismic equipment comes from the IRIS-PASSCAL Instrument Center in Socorro New Mexico, a national facility that provides seismic equipment for scientific research projects. To make sure everything is working properly, we do a “huddle test,” where we set up all of the seismometers and data loggers in once place and let them collect data for one day. We are fortunate to have been given access to some space in the Kodiak Alaska Fisheries Science Center, a research facility that provides valuable data to the fishing industry and that has a wonderful aquarium. This means we are sometimes sharing the space with sea life, like the large salmon shark in the photo! The orange boxes are our data loggers and the purple boxes are the shipping containers; the data loggers are sitting on what we hope are bear-resistant metal boxes that will hold the gear in the field. Tomorrow, if all goes well, we can start deploying equipment!
Geoff Abers, Cornell University