July 17, 2003
First Station of New Seismic Network Sited Near Wilson

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Geologists of Jackson Hole, and the Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) succeeded in siting a new broadband seismic station in southern Jackson Hole on Wednesday, July 16, 2003. The station, which will be operated by the USGS as part of their Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS), is the first of at least 10 more needed for the area.

The new seismic network in the Jackson Hole area will help to ensure the safety of area residents and visitors. Progress on developing the network so far has been possible because of the support and cooperation between the USGS, State of Wyoming, Wyoming congressional delegation, Geologists of Jackson Hole, Teton County, University of Wyoming, University of Utah Seismograph Stations, and private industry. Dave Daniel, General Manager of Compunet, a Jackson-owned wireless Internet provider, donated facilities and services to assure that data from the seismic station could be transmitted to the USGS in Golden, Colorado through the Internet.

ANSS is an evolving nationwide seismic network composed of high-quality, state-of-the-art seismic equipment designed for national, regional, and urban seismic monitoring. In Wyoming, the desire is to detect and accurately locate small to moderate shocks as well as large earthquakes. Seismic data from the ANSS are analyzed by the USGS or by one of their cooperators, and timely information is provided to the public, including near-real-time information on the Web. The USGS will maintain the seismic stations as long as federal funding for the ANSS continues. Political support for the ANSS is critical in order to ensure its continued operation. WyomingÕs congressional delegation has recently provided strong advocacy for ANSS funding.

The new seismic station was financed by the USGS from their existing budget. The Wyoming State GovernorÕs Office, WSGS, Geologists of Jackson Hole, and Teton County have all worked closely with WyomingÕs congressional delegation to put a line-item in the upcoming federal budget for the rest of the needed seismic stations. The budget request has passed the first rounds of budget review, and all concerned parties are hopeful for final approval of this important request.

The Jackson Hole area is considered by many scientists to be overdue for a magnitude 7.5 earthquake on the Teton fault. In addition, earthquakes in the magnitude 6.5 range could occur in other parts of the area. The Teton fault, which underlies Jackson Lake dam and much of Jackson Hole, has been seismically quiet for many years, and any activity on the fault is significant. It is necessary for public safety to monitor the fault and the region continuously for small to large earthquakes, hence the critical need for the new seismic network.

The Jackson Hole area has been without adequate seismic coverage since the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BuRec), which oversees the safety of Jackson Lake dam, discontinued their Jackson Hole seismic network last year. That action was opposed by the State of Wyoming. The new seismic stations will be located at sites previously used by the BuRec.

Press Release
from the Office of the Wyoming State Geologist
Ron Surdam, State Geologist