2002-2003 Science Planning Summary

Geology & Geophysics

Dr. Scott Borg
Program Manager


NSF/OPP EAR 00-04370
Station: Palmer and South Pole Stations
RPSC POC: Rob Edwards
Research Site(s): SPRESSO building and vaults, Palmer Station

Global Seismograph Station: IRIS & USGS/ASL
Dr. Rhett G. Butler
Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology
Global Seismograph Network Program Manager

Deploying Team Members: Donald M Anderson . Kent R Anderson . Rhett G Butler . Edward P Kromer . John J Vineyard
Research Objectives: Seismology, perhaps as much as any other science, is a global enterprise. Seismic waves resulting from earthquakes and other events can only be interpreted through simultaneous measurements at strategic points all over the planet. The measurement and analysis of these seismic waves are not only fundamental for the study of the earthquakes, but also serve as the primary data source for the study of the Earth's interior. To help establish the facilities required for this crucial scientific mission, IRIS (the Incorporated Research Institution for Seismology) was created in 1985.

IRIS is a consortium of universities with research and educational programs in seismology. Ninety-seven universities are currently members, including nearly all U.S. universities that run seismological research programs. Since 1986, IRIS (through a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey) has developed and installed the Global Seismographic Network (GSN). The GSN now has about 135 broadband, digital, high-dynamic-range, seismographic stations around the world, all with real-time communications.

The GSN seismic equipment at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station and at Palmer Station, Antarctica, was installed jointly by IRIS and ISGS, who together continue to operate and maintain them. The GSN sites in Antarctica are vital to seismic studies of Antarctica and the Southern Hemisphere. The state-of-the-art seismic instrumentation is an intrinsic component of the NSF effort to advance seismology and Earth science globally.

Field Season Overview:
At Palmer Station, the support contractor's science technician will perform year-round, daily, data tape changes and periodic maintenance of the project's three seismometers. The station's data acquisition system is maintained by U.S.-based researchers via the Internet.

At South Pole Station, the science technicians perform daily operations and maintenance of the existing seismic station at Vault #1-South Pole Antarctica (V1-SPA) and the new seismic station Quiet-zone South Pole Antarctica (QSPA) at the South Pole Remote Earth Seismic Observatory (SPRESO). Concurrent operation of these stations is planned for about a year to verify the quality of the new station relative to the existing station. Winter-over science technicians will be trained by the researchers at their facility in Albuquerque, NM prior to deployment. The project team members also plan to perform annual maintenance inspection and calibration of the seismometers in the existing seismic vault in the Quiet Sector. Twice a year, the support contractor science technician will calibrate this project's gravity meters.

Ice Core Drilling Services (ICDS) personnel will finish drilling three new boreholes for the placement of this project's seismometers during this field season.