First Quarter Hanford Seismic Report for Fiscal Year 2010

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The Hanford Seismic Network and the Eastern Washington Regional Network consist of 44 individual sensor sites and 15 radio relay sites maintained by the Hanford Seismic Assessment Team. The Hanford Seismic Network recorded 81 local earthquakes during the first quarter of FY 2010. Sixty-five of these earthquakes were detected in the vicinity of Wooded Island, located about eight miles north of Richland just west of the Columbia River. The Wooded Island events recorded this quarter is a continuation of the swarm events observed during fiscal year 2009 and reported in previous quarterly and annual reports (Rohay et al; 2009a, 2009b, ... continued below

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Rohay, Alan C.; Sweeney, Mark D.; Hartshorn, Donald C.; Clayton, Ray E. & Devary, Joseph L. March 29, 2010.

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The Hanford Seismic Network and the Eastern Washington Regional Network consist of 44 individual sensor sites and 15 radio relay sites maintained by the Hanford Seismic Assessment Team. The Hanford Seismic Network recorded 81 local earthquakes during the first quarter of FY 2010. Sixty-five of these earthquakes were detected in the vicinity of Wooded Island, located about eight miles north of Richland just west of the Columbia River. The Wooded Island events recorded this quarter is a continuation of the swarm events observed during fiscal year 2009 and reported in previous quarterly and annual reports (Rohay et al; 2009a, 2009b, 2009c, and 2009d). Most of the events were considered minor (coda-length magnitude [Mc] less than 1.0) with only 1 event in the 2.0-3.0 range; the maximum magnitude event (2.5 Mc) occurred on December 22 at depth 2.1 km. The average depth of the Wooded Island events during the quarter was 1.4 km with a maximum depth estimated at 3.1 km. This placed the Wooded Island events within the Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG). The low magnitude of the Wooded Island events has made them undetectable to all but local area residents. The Hanford SMA network was triggered several times by these events and the SMA recordings are discussed in section 6.0. During the last year some Hanford employees working within a few miles of the swarm area and individuals living directly across the Columbia River from the swarm center have reported feeling many of the larger magnitude events. Strong motion accelerometer (SMA) units installed directly above the swarm area at ground surface measured peak ground accelerations approaching 15% g, the largest values recorded at Hanford. This corresponds to strong shaking of the ground, consistent with what people in the local area have reported. However, the duration and magnitude of these swarm events should not result in any structural damage to facilities. The USGS performed a geophysical survey using satellite interferometry that detected approximately 1 inch uplift in surface deformation along an east-west transect within the swarm area. The uplift is thought to be caused by the release of pressure that has built up in sedimentary layers, cracking the brittle basalt layers with the Columbia River Basalt Formation (CRBG) and causing the earthquakes. Similar earthquake swarms have been recorded near this same location in 1970, 1975 and 1988 but not with SMA readings or satellite imagery. Prior to the 1970s, swarming may have occurred, but equipment was not in place to record those events. The Wooded Island swarm, due its location and the limited magnitude of the events, does not appear to pose any significant risk to Hanford waste storage facilities. Since swarms of the past did not intensify in magnitude, seismologists do not expect that these events will persist or increase in intensity. However, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will continue to monitor the activity. Outside of the Wooded Island swarm, sixteen earthquakes were recorded, all minor events. Seven earthquakes were located at intermediate depths (between 4 and 9 km), most likely in the pre-basalt sediments and nine earthquakes at depths greater than 9 km, within the basement. Geographically, seven earthquakes were located in known swarm areas and nine earthquakes were classified as random events.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-19283
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/982570 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 982570
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1015472

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  • March 29, 2010

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 14, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

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  • Oct. 24, 2017, 2:15 p.m.

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Rohay, Alan C.; Sweeney, Mark D.; Hartshorn, Donald C.; Clayton, Ray E. & Devary, Joseph L. First Quarter Hanford Seismic Report for Fiscal Year 2010, report, March 29, 2010; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1015472/: accessed November 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.