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Open-File Report 2011-1101

Improved Earthquake Monitoring in the Central and Eastern United States in Support of Seismic Assessments for Critical Facilities

By William S. Leith, Harley M. Benz, and Robert B. Herrmann

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Evaluation of seismic monitoring capabilities in the central and eastern United States for critical facilities—including nuclear powerplants—focused on specific improvements to understand better the seismic hazards in the region. The report is not an assessment of seismic safety at nuclear plants. To accomplish the evaluation and to provide suggestions for improvements using funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the U.S. Geological Survey examined addition of new strong-motion seismic stations in areas of seismic activity and addition of new seismic stations near nuclear power-plant locations, along with integration of data from the Transportable Array of some 400 mobile seismic stations. Some 38 and 68 stations, respectively, were suggested for addition in active seismic zones and near-power-plant locations. Expansion of databases for strong-motion and other earthquake source-characterization data also was evaluated. Recognizing pragmatic limitations of station deployment, augmentation of existing deployments provides improvements in source characterization by quantification of near-source attenuation in regions where larger earthquakes are expected. That augmentation also supports systematic data collection from existing networks. The report further utilizes the application of modeling procedures and processing algorithms, with the additional stations and the improved seismic databases, to leverage the capabilities of existing and expanded seismic arrays.

First posted June 22, 2011

For additional information contact:

USGS Geologic Hazards
Box 25046, MS-966
Denver Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225-0046

This report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Leith, W.S., Benz, H.M., and Herrmann, R.B., 2011, Improved earthquake monitoring in the central and eastern United States in support of seismic assessments for critical facilities: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011–1101, 29 p.



Augmentations to Regional Seismic Networks and the Advanced National Seismic System




Selected References

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