2022-2023 Science Planning Summary
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2022-2023 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

IRIS/PASSCAL: Erebus Backbone Network Project

Photo by Mark Sabbatini. Image courtesy of NSF/USAP Photo Library.
T-312-M Research Location(s): Mt Erebus - Ross Island


Event Number:
NSF Agreement

Program Director:
Dr. Michael Jackson

ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Jenny Cunningham

Principal Investigator(s)

Mr. Kent Anderson
EarthScope Consortium

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Mt Erebus - Ross Island


Earthscope SAGE (formerly IRIS/PASSCAL) is designing and fabricating components for a near-real time seismic network to be installed at various locations near the summit of Mount Erebus. This infrastructure will support the scientific and hazard monitoring objectives of the Office of Polar Programs (OPP) community and supplant the temporary Erebus Interim observational array. The PASSCAL (Program for Array Seismic Studies of the Continental Lithosphere) Instrument Center at New Mexico Tech supports cutting edge seismological research into Earth’s fundamental geological structure and processes. The scope of this project does not include a directive for ongoing monitoring of the resulting data, but the data will be archived at the IRIS Data Management Center. This network will be comprised of five stations that each will include broadband, strong motion, and infrasound sensing capabilities. They will also be able to facilitate the expansion of other sensing capabilities.

Field Season Overview

Two PASSCAL engineers deployed under T-299-M will support the Erebus Backbone Network. They will service all existing high-elevation Erebus Interim Stations with routine maintenance and data downloads, including Lower Erebus Hut (ELHT), Hooper's Shoulder (HOO), Nausea Knob (NAUS), and Cone Z (CONZ). The team will also attempt to fully upgrade the HOO station by installing a new power system, a broadband seismometer, a new telemetry system, and infrasound and strong motion sensors. At ELHT, they will install a new power system and infrasound sensor.

The two engineers will install the new low-elevation Erebus Perimeter sites at Cape Royds (ROYD), Tracyte Hill (BIRD), and Terra Nova Nunatak (TER). For each site, they will install power systems and infrasound sensors. They will also install one broadband seismometer each at BIRD and TER, and two at ROYD.

Helicopters will support all work, and an ASC Field Safety Coordinator may accompany the team on visits to some sites. T-312-M will also ship the "Red Drill" to McMurdo via cargo vessel, to be received at the end of the season. The drill will overwinter and will be used for future upgrades at the sites in the following season.

Deploying Team Members

  • Avilash Cramer
  • Alan Horton