Earthquake Sensor Installed in New Bay Area Soccer Stadium
MENLO PARK, Calif. — Where better to install a new earthquake sensor than in the new home of the San Jose Earthquakes Major League Soccer team? U.S. Geological Survey geophysicists installed a seismograph in the offices of the San Jose Earthquakes at their new Avaya Stadium this week, in order to improve the understanding of ground shaking in the Santa Clara Valley from earthquakes in the southern San Francisco Bay Area.
For several years, the USGS has been installing additional sensors to achieve a denser and more uniform spacing of seismographs in select urban areas to provide better characterization of how ground motion varies from one location to another during earthquakes. These measurements improve the ability to make rapid post-earthquake assessments of shaking and contribute to the continuing development of engineering standards for construction.
Just in time for the inaugural home opener in the new soccer stadium, the USGS NetQuakes seismograph will record not only small natural earthquakes, but is sensitive enough to record ground vibrations generated by large, noisy crowds at Avaya Stadium. The installation of this seismograph builds on a partnership between the San Jose Earthquakes and the USGS established last year with an earthquake preparedness fair at the final home game at Buckshaw Stadium on October 18, 2014, the day after the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
The 1989 magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake caused strong shaking throughout the Santa Clara Valley, but some areas shook more strongly and suffered more damage than other areas. This instrument will improve the ability of scientists to detect variability in shaking across the Santa Clara Valley in future earthquakes and then to correlate damage to the level of shaking. This allows engineers to design future buildings to better withstand shaking.
Recording ground vibrations caused by large stadium crowds: That’s just a bonus for fans.
Seismograms recorded on the new instrument are publicly available online.
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