Posted October 18, 2012

Scientists re-install seismometer at Temple Ambler

Preston Moretz
Scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory re-install a broad-band seismometer on Temple's Ambler Campus. The unit flooded last summer after having recorded some of the major seismic events of the past two years.

A broad-band seismometer that has recorded some of the major seismic events of the past two years was re-installed last week on the Ambler campus by the College of Science and Technology’s department of earth and environmental science.

The one-meter deep concrete vault that houses the seismometer became flooded during the summer, causing the instrument to go offline.

“Water got into the drum system,” Jonathan Nyquist, professor of geophysics and chairman of Temple University’s department of earth and environmental science, told KYW radio. “They said, ‘Oh, gee, the seismograph’s acting a little strange. Would you go check on it?’ So I go out there, I pop it open, there’s water to the top of the drum. The seismograph is completely under water.”

Initially installed in 2010, the seismometer has recorded some major seismic events, including the last year’s 9.0 earthquake that caused the Japan tsunami and the 5.8 earthquake that rocked the Philadelphia region.

After undergoing some maintenance the device was re-installed in cooperation with scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who also helped landscape the area around the vault to prevent future flooding.

Temple is part of the Lamont-Doherty Cooperative Seismographic Network, which monitors seismic activity along the East Coast, but also records global seismic events. Data from the seismometer is automatically radioed to a computer in the Amber Technology Center and posted in real-time on the Lamont-Doherty seismic website.