Annual Hanford Seismic Report for Fiscal Year 2009

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The Hanford Seismic Assessment Program (HSAP) provides an uninterrupted collection of high-quality raw and processed seismic data from the Hanford Seismic Network for the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractors. The HSAP is responsible for locating and identifying sources of seismic activity and monitoring changes in the historical pattern of seismic activity at the Hanford Site. The data are compiled, archived, and published for use by the Hanford Site for waste management, natural phenomena hazards assessments, and engineering design and construction. In addition, the HSAP works with the Hanford Site Emergency Services Organization to provide assistance in the event ... continued below

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Rohay, Alan C.; Sweeney, Mark D.; Hartshorn, Donald C.; Clayton, Ray E. & Devary, Joseph L. December 31, 2009.

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Description

The Hanford Seismic Assessment Program (HSAP) provides an uninterrupted collection of high-quality raw and processed seismic data from the Hanford Seismic Network for the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractors. The HSAP is responsible for locating and identifying sources of seismic activity and monitoring changes in the historical pattern of seismic activity at the Hanford Site. The data are compiled, archived, and published for use by the Hanford Site for waste management, natural phenomena hazards assessments, and engineering design and construction. In addition, the HSAP works with the Hanford Site Emergency Services Organization to provide assistance in the event of a significant earthquake on the Hanford Site. 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. During FY 2009, the Hanford Seismic Network recorded nearly 3000 triggers on the seismometer system, which included over 1700 seismic events in the southeast Washington area and an additional 370 regional and teleseismic events. There were 1648 events determined to be local earthquakes relevant to the Hanford Site. Nearly all of these earthquakes were detected in the vicinity of Wooded Island, located about eight miles north of Richland just west of the Columbia River. Recording of the Wooded Island events began in January with over 250 events per month through June 2009. The frequency of events decreased starting in July 2009 to approximately 10-15 events per month through September 2009. Most of the events were considered minor (coda-length magnitude [Mc] less than 1.0) with 47 events in the 2.0-3.0 range. The estimated depths of the Wooded Island events are shallow (averaging less than 1.0 km deep) with a maximum depth estimated at 2.3 km. This places the Wooded Island events within the Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG). The highest-magnitude event (3.0Mc) occurred on May 13, 2009 within the Wooded Island swarm at depth 1.8 km. With regard to the depth distribution, 1613 earthquakes were located at shallow depths (less than 4 km, most likely in the Columbia River basalts), 18 earthquakes were located at intermediate depths (between 4 and 9 km, most likely in the pre-basalt sediments), and 17 earthquakes were located at depths greater than 9 km, within the crystalline basement. Geographically, 1630 earthquakes were located in swarm areas and 18 earthquakes were classified as random events. The low magnitude of the Wooded Island events has made them undetectable to all but local area residents. However, some Hanford employees working within a few miles of the area of highest activity and individuals living in homes directly across the Columbia River from the swarm center have reported feeling many of the larger magnitude events. The Hanford Strong Motion Accelerometer (SMA) network was triggered numerous times by the Wooded Island swarm events. The maximum acceleration value recorded by the SMA network was approximately 3 times lower than the reportable action level for Hanford facilities (2% g) and no action was required. The swarming is likely due to pressure that has built up, cracking the brittle basalt layers within the Columbia River Basalt Formation (CRBG). Similar earthquake “swarms” have been recorded near this same location in 1970, 1975 and 1988. Prior to the 1970s, swarming may have occurred, but equipment was not in place to record those events. Quakes of this limited magnitude do not pose a risk to Hanford cleanup efforts or waste storage facilities. Since swarms of the past did not intensify in magnitude, seismologists do not expect that these events will increase in intensity. However, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will continue to monitor the activity.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-19071
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/972560 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 972560
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc930088

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  • December 31, 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Nov. 22, 2016, 7:09 p.m.

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Rohay, Alan C.; Sweeney, Mark D.; Hartshorn, Donald C.; Clayton, Ray E. & Devary, Joseph L. Annual Hanford Seismic Report for Fiscal Year 2009, report, December 31, 2009; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc930088/: accessed June 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.