Local variations in broadband sensor installations: Orientations, sensitivities, and noise levels

Pure and Applied Geophysics
By:  and 



As seismologists continue to place more stringent demands on data quality, accurately described metadata are becoming increasingly important. In order to better constrain the orientation and sensitivities of seismometers deployed in U.S. Geological Survey networks, the Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory (ASL) has recently begun identifying true north with a fiber optic gyroscope (FOG) and has developed methodologies to constrain mid-band, vertical component sensitivity levels to less than 1% in a controlled environment. However, questions remain regarding the accuracy of this new alignment technique as well as if instrument sensitivities and background noise levels are stable when the seismometers are installed in different environmental settings. In this study, we examine the stability and repeatability of these parameters by reinstalling two high-quality broadband seismometers (Streckeisen STS-2.5 and Nanometrics T-360 Global Seismographic Network (GSN) version) at different locations around the ASL and comparing them to each other and a reference STS-6 seismometer that stayed stationary for the duration of the experiment. We find that even in different environmental conditions, the sensitivities of the two broadband seismometers stayed stable to within 0.1% and that orientations attained using the FOG are generally accurate to within a degree. However, one install was off by 5° due to a mistake made by the installation team. These results indicate that while technology and methodologies are now in place to calibrate and orient a seismometer to within 1°, human error both during the installation and while producing the metadata is often a limiting factor. Finally, we find that background noise levels at short periods (0.1–1 s) become noisier when the sensors are emplaced in unconsolidated materials, whereas the noise levels at long periods (30–100 s) are not sensitive to local geological structure on the vertical components.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Local variations in broadband sensor installations: Orientations, sensitivities, and noise levels
Series title Pure and Applied Geophysics
DOI 10.1007/S00024-021-02895-9
Edition Online First
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
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