Quake data: Alva gets seismometer

Northwestern Oklahoma State University employees installs a seismometer on the Alva campus. (Provided photo)


ALVA — Alva is helping U.S. Geo­logical Society gather data on earthquakes.

USGS in Albuquerque, N.M., ap­­proached Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva about installing a seismometer station on university property to collect earthquake aftershock data.

Steve Maier, department chair of NWOSU’s natural science department, said USGS contacted him through an email about the arrangement.

“They were interested in putting some equipment in the area to measure aftershock data because of the level of activity in the area,” he said. “We were able to act quickly on that. … It was installed at no cost to the university.”

The seismometer station was installed over the winter break in time to record to the Jan. 6 double temblor: a magnitude 4.3 quake in Fairview at 10:30 p.m., and then a magnitude 4.8 near Alva less than a minute later.

The station involves two instruments: an accelerometer to measure gross movement and a broadband seismometer to collect high frequency data like quick vibrations. Each instrument had to be aligned with the earth’s axis of rotation and measures movement in three dimensions, according to a press release from NWOSU. 

The data gathered from the station is open to the public and available on USGS website, and Maier said they will be able to implement that data into classroom instruction. 

“We will talk about different types of (shock) waves, earthquakes that are far away and the data we get, and we can compare that to the aftershocks and earthquakes we have in Oklahoma, so we can make comparisons to earthquakes that are local and far way,” he said.

The station is designed to be mobile and is under a temporary contract with NWOSU, but Maier said the timeframe is fluid.

“It could be here for months or they could leave it indefinitely,” he said. “There isn’t a set time they will come dig it up.” 

For instructions on how to access the public data from the seismometer, go to www.nwosu.edu, or email Maier at sjmaier@nwosu.edu

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