10 December, 2003
Ray’s Seismic Station
One objective for this year’s field season is to install a new seismic station on the crater rim. Dr. Jackie Caplan-Auerbach, from the Alaska Volcano Observatory, is heading up this project to assist Dr. Philip Kyle, a volcanologist from New Mexico Tech who is the Principal Investigator on this project. For the last four days, teams of 3-5 people have hauled over 300 pounds of gear up Ray’s Gully. We laid and buried cable the first day, carried up a cement slab and housing for the seismic station the second day, transported “Antarctic cement” and an instrument box the third day, and assembled it all today.
This seismic station will ultimately be comprised of the seismometer (which measures ground movement), a GPS unit, gas sampling devices, infrared radiometer (measures heat flux), and an infrasonic microphone (measures low frequency noise generated by the volcano).
The location for this seismic station was chosen for two reasons. First, it is located on the rim of the crater in view of the lava lake, which is useful in taking gas samples, infrasound readings and infrared radiometric measurements. It is also on the east side of volcano in a small saddle, therefore somewhat sheltered from wind, which creates noise in the seismic signal.
Fortunately, the power station for this seismic site is located at the bottom of the hill at Ray’s Gully. As the battery array is made of 18 batteries weighing 70 pounds apiece, we were relieved that we don’t need to carry them up the 400 feet of vertical slope! All we had to do today was assemble the housing and place the seismometer inside (Figures 1-7).
After the assembly was completed, Jackie and I headed back to the hut to warm up. A glance at the weather station revealed an air temperature of –22 C (– 7 F) with a wind chill of – 42 C (– 43 F). While the wind was not as strong today, the temperature was about 10 degrees colder than it had been for the last week. As I sit here typing my journals, I am appreciative of the warm hut and keeping reminding myself that this is the Antarctic summer!
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