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Earthquake locations determined by the Southern Alaska seismograph network for October 1971 through May 1989

January 1, 1993

This report describes the instrumentation and evolution of the U.S. Geological Survey’s regional seismograph network in southern Alaska, provides phase and hypocenter data for seismic events from October 1971 through May 1989, reviews the location methods used, and discusses the completeness of the catalog and the accuracy of the computed hypocenters. Included are arrival time data for explosions detonated under the Trans-Alaska Crustal Transect (TACT) in 1984 and 1985.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) operated a regional network of seismographs in southern Alaska from 1971 to the mid 1990s. The principal purpose of this network was to record seismic data to be used to precisely locate earthquakes in the seismic zones of southern Alaska, delineate seismically active faults, assess seismic risks, document potential premonitory earthquake phenomena, investigate current tectonic deformation, and study the structure and physical properties of the crust and upper mantle. A task fundamental to all of these goals was the routine cataloging of parameters for earthquakes located within and adjacent to the seismograph network.

The initial network of 10 stations, 7 around Cook Inlet and 3 near Valdez, was installed in 1971. In subsequent summers additions or modifications to the network were made. By the fall of 1973, 26 stations extended from western Cook Inlet to eastern Prince William Sound, and 4 stations were located to the east between Cordova and Yakutat. A year later 20 additional stations were installed. Thirteen of these were placed along the eastern Gulf of Alaska with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment Program to investigate the seismicity of the outer continental shelf, a region of interest for oil exploration. Since then the region covered by the network remained relatively fixed while efforts were made to make the stations more reliable through improved electronic instrumentation and strengthened antenna systems. The majority of the stations installed since 1980 were operated only temporarily (from one to several years) for special studies in various areas within the network. Due to reduced funding, the network was trimmed substantially in the summer of 1985 with the closure of 15 stations, 13 of which were located in and around the Yakataga seismic gap. To further reduce costs, two telephone circuits were dropped and multiple radio relays were installed in their place. This economy reduced the reliability of these telemetry links. In addition, data collection from the areas around Cordova and Yakutat was compromised by the necessity of relying on triggered event recording using PC-based systems (Rogers, 1993) that were not fully developed and which proved to be less reliable than anticipated.

The principal means of recording throughout the time period of this catalog was 20-channel oscillographs on 16-mm film (Teledyne Geotech Develocorder, Model RF400 and 4000D). Initially one Develocorder was operated at the USGS Alaskan headquarters in Anchorage, but in 1972 recording was shifted to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Palmer Observatory (currently the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center). The Develocorders were turned off at the end of May 1989, and after that time recording was done in digital format at the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks (GIUA). Thus, this catalog covers the entire period of film recording.

Publication Year 1993
Title Earthquake locations determined by the Southern Alaska seismograph network for October 1971 through May 1989
DOI 10.3133/ofr93309
Authors Kent A. Fogleman, John C. Lahr, Christopher D. Stephens, Robert A. Page
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 93-309
Index ID ofr93309
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center; Menlo Park Science Center