Aftershock deployment in full swing!

A note to avoid confusion for the reader: this post was meant to go out last night (Saturday night), however image upload speeds in Kodiak caused a minor setback.

After our weather delay, we had two very productive days deploying seismometers around western Kodiak Island. On Friday, we first visited the remote village of Akhiok, the closest settlement on Kodiak to the July earthquake, and installed a seismometer there. This is the same place where the UNAVCO team had worked on telemetry, discussed in the previous blog post. Here are some highlights across two days and three seismometer installations:

Once again, we had a furry domestic helper. In this case it was a local dog that periodically checked in on us. Although we did not learn this pet’s name, he kindly assumed the unofficial duty of boosting morale and keeping bears at bay. Akhiok is one site that featured a number of bears looming nearby throughout the original AACSE site deployment. For the record, pictured above is a loving, thorough and welcomed petting from Enrique—no animals were injured in the making of this deployment.
Next, we travelled to Larsen Bay, which is more in the center of the island. The ground was considerably tougher to break through, and the flies were insatiable. Both the Akhiok and Larson Bay sites were used in the original AACSE deployment, and required a small plane to reach.
Side note: IRIS/PASSCAL has their eye on the hardware procurement cutting edge. These new instrument systems have made field deployments quite efficient. The airplanes have very limited weight and space capacity, so we plan what we take carefully, and look for ways to lighten the load. We use seismometers that can be directly buried, so that we do not need to carry cement to build structures, and we pre-shipped some of the heavier parts like batteries. All things considered, we cannot go too cheaply–these stations have to last about ten months before their next visit, so we have strong metal boxes (loaned from the Alaska Volcano Observatory) to hold batteries and electronics. These boxes also house the Digital Acquisition System (DAS), which are well-suited to perform in cold conditions. While each station is robust against the elements, we can do little more than hope that curious bears stay away from the installments that we leave behind. It was not very reassuring when a floatplane dock worker said, “… I handled 250 lbs. of smoked fish right before I loaded gear on to your plane…” It was difficult to tell if he was joking with us or not.
Today, Saturday, we visited our most remote Kodiak site in the northwest corner of the island, using a small float plane. These Beavers, as they are colloquially referred to, tend to fly lower than the wheeled aircraft that we used on Friday. This only served to enhance the stunning views that we came upon in transit to and from the day’s site. This was Enrique’s final seismometer installation for the trip. He departs home for Colorado early Sunday morning, leaving Dan and Geoff to take care of the final station on the AK Peninsula. It’s been an exceptional time in Kodiak.
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