Kodiak Island Recoveries

The author cleans a seismometer at a field site on the Alaska Peninsula

My name is Kevin Pszczola, and I’m a graduate student at Western Washington University in Bellingham WA. My research is focused on a cluster of earthquakes in the forearc near Kodiak Island, taking full advantage of the dense AACSE seismometer deployment to improve locations for events offshore. Before the AACSE data set, even detecting some of these far flung events would be a challenge. The AACSE data is an amazing opportunity for the seismology community to explore one of the most seismically active regions of the earth. So when my advisor offered me a chance to participate in the latest permutation of the experiment, I jumped at the chance!

Emily Roland and Anne Sheehan recovering site KD12 near Anvil Lake

We returned to Kodiak this week to recover five of the seismometers deployed to monitor the aftershocks of the M8.2 2021 earthquake. Our recovery efforts this week took us to every corner of the island and beyond, from a short drive to Chiniak to a 90 minute flight over the Shelikof Strait to a site near the Yantarni volcano on the Alaska Peninsula.

Working in the shadow of an Alaskan volcano is certainly impressive, especially so on a day devoid of bears and rain!

Though the sites we’ve visited are quite different, ranging from a swamp behind a school to a lake littered with the remains of countless bear snacks, the wild beauty of Alaska remains constant. We’ve seen swans, seals, reindeer, goats, eagles galore, and even the elusive Kodiak bear over the course of our travels.

Some wildlife is easier to spot than others, like these bald eagles keeping watch over the town landfill.

While the weather has been a factor in our plans, forcing us to reschedule flights around low visibility and high winds, thanks to the skill, diligence, and flexibility of our air carrier we were able to recover all the stations ahead of schedule.

A little wind and rain doesn’t faze the pilots of Island Air

Though some of our stations fell afoul of varying degrees of water and wildlife (GPS cables must be especially tasty), we’re now pulling real data off of our instruments! Though a comprehensive look at the data will have to wait, we’re already able to see earthquakes.

An earthquake recorded by the seismometer at the Chiniak site

Although there are still a few stations left to recover farther afield, we’ve now picked up every station on Kodiak Island itself. The final few stations remain for the next team to retrieve. For now, we’re headed for the airport, and home.


2 thoughts on “Kodiak Island Recoveries

  1. Susan Schwartz May 6, 2022 — 7:48 am

    Wow, the sites look so different now in very early spring than late summer when the equipment is buried in very thick vegetation. I hope you the rest of your recovery trip goes well.


  2. Kevin it was great to meet you, Anne and Emily at Akhiok this week! We look forward to a class meeting via Zoom.


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