Earthquake Monitoring Network Upgrade Blog

March 3, 2017 - 29 Station Upgrades Completed

Check out the maps and photo gallery! Between August 2016 and February 2017, new equipment installations have been completed at 29 stations from coast to coast to coast. For a list by province/territory see below.

Come back soon to read more on the upgrades!

December 19, 2016 - Students Working on Vancouver Island Station Upgrades

The Pacific Coast is the most earthquake-prone region of Canada. Around 400 earthquakes occur each year in the region from the north end of Vancouver Island, British Columbia (BC), Canada to Seattle, Washington, U.S.

Can you believe it? In January 1700, a magnitude 9 earthquake occurred off the coast of Vancouver Island! There is evidence found in Vancouver Island First Nations’ oral history of a large tsunami destroying a village at Pachena Bay on the west coast of the island. Also, a written record of tsunami damage along the east coast of Japan gives us a date and time for the event.

So far, the largest recorded earthquake in BC occurred in August 1949. It was a magnitude 8.1 earthquake offshore Queen Charlotte Islands.

Students are hired to help Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) staff with construction and installations, as part of the network upgrade. Their support helps the multi-year task of upgrading all the stations in Canada’s seismic network. Here’s a report from one student working from our office in Sidney, BC:

Hello, my name is Erin Greeves. I am a Co-op student working for the Canadian Hazard Information Service under Natural Resources Canada. Over the past seven months I have had the privilege to work with Shayla Brown (Co-op student), Rick Hall and Tim Claydon (NRCan staff).

We have traveled all over Vancouver Island and part of the mainland of British Columbia. Our main focus over the summer and fall was to deploy and upgrade earthquake monitoring stations. We managed to complete five stations over that course of time, three of which were new sites that not only required new instruments, but also concrete foundations, new solar panels, solar panel mounts, kiosks, batteries, etc. The whole kit, starting with building a frame for the concrete!

Take a look at some pictures of the various sites we completed.

Survey Mountain

Cowichan Lake

We managed to get this site done in two days even with the temperature around 34 degrees Celsius in direct sunlight!

Campbell River

This site was completely infested with ants, who had managed to create a whole series of tunnels through the insulation in the vault. Plus some spiders that managed to co habitat the vault too.

Woss

Holberg

Come back soon to find out how many stations have been upgraded in the 2016 field season!

For more information visit Products, Publications, and Research on Earthquakes Canada website and to see the references for this blog:

GeoFact sheet: Earthquakes in southwestern British Columbia

Significant Canadian earthquakes 1600-2006; Lamontagne, M; Halchuk, S; Cassidy, J F; Rogers, G C. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 5539, 2007, ; 32 pages; 1 CD-ROM, doi:10.4095/224164

October 17, 2016 - Upgrades in Charlevoix region, Quebec

The Charlevoix region is the most seismically active region in eastern Canada. More than 200 earthquakes are recorded there each year1. We have seven seismograph stations clustered in that area to monitor this seismic zone. At least five earthquakes with a magnitude 6 (Richter scale) or greater have occurred in this zone in the past. In 1925, near La Malbaie, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake caused damage to communities located on both shores of the St. Lawrence River, Quebec City and Shawinigan2.

Charlevoix stations border shore of the St. Lawrence River

Andy (Electronics Technologist) reports:

The Charlevoix region is a beautiful area to visit. In August, we were very lucky with the weather. There wasn’t a single day of bad weather while we were there. Both A11 and A16 had issues with mice infestation, so our Co-op student was helping a lot in removing the mice and cleanup of the vault. (A11 is the St-Roch-des-Aulnaies, Quebec station; A16 is the Rivière Ouelle, Quebec station)

A11 mice infestation

The St-Roch-des-Aulnaies, Quebec station was the first station in the Charlevoix region to get new instruments. In fact, four of the seven stations in the Charlevoix region now have brand new seismometers and digitizers installed: St-Roch-des-Aulnaies, Rivière Ouelle, Misère and La Malbaie. The other three stations (St-André, Saint-Simeon, and Sainte Mathilde) are fitted with new power managers. Upgrades are set for completion during the month of October this year.

Charlevoix stations border shore of the St. Lawrence River

Radio systems upgrades to Charlevoix stations

The older radio systems at Charlevoix stations operated at a lower frequency (around 400Mhz) and the antenna on the towers were optimized to operate at that frequency. The newly upgraded radio system operates around 900Mhz so the antenna had to be changed. At the top of the tower, the old antenna was removed and replaced with a new one. The type of antenna being used is a Yagi-Uda RF antenna.

Technician upgrading the radio system
Technician upgrading the radio system

Come back soon to read more on the upgrades!

August 30, 2016 - Makeover at Resolute station!

Resolute earthquake monitoring station – view of entrance of upgraded vault building and older vault building
Map of earthquake monitoring sites in Canada highlighting the Resolute station location.

August in Resolute, Nunavut still finds ice inside the station. It’s pretty, but a frosty sight. To help prevent water leaks and future ice build-up, many improvements have been made to the site.

Collage of photographs of icicles, ice crystals and snow found inside the vault at the Resolute earthquake monitoring station.
Ice crystals found inside the vault at the Resolute earthquake monitoring station.

Quote from the field: Calvin (technologist) says: “Water is dripping down into the vault. Ice was cleaned out a week ago, but it’s been raining a lot and I suspect there will be more ice in there (the vault).”

Some of the work that was done: A new roof and all exposed wood covered with metal flashing should keep out water. Removal of the old man-hole entrance will also reduce water problems. Telephone wires are now properly strung on poles leading up to the vault building.

Resolute earthquake monitoring station showing back view of upgraded vault building and older vault building
Upgraded Resolute earthquake monitoring station – view of front entrance
Resolute earthquake monitoring station showing side view of upgraded vault building and older vault building.
Resolute earthquake monitoring station showing back view of upgraded vault building and older vault building

The new earthquake monitoring equipment will be safe from the elements with a shiny new exterior!

Inside the vault, frost and ice was scraped away, all cement piers covered with insulation, new wood floors installed and power outlets wired for each pier.

Inside the Resolute earthquake monitoring station vault showing image of ice buildup on the ceiling and walls at the entrance and image after ice removal ( right to left). Inside the Resolute earthquake monitoring station vault showing image of ice buildup on one of the piers and walls  and image after ice removal with insulated piers, new wood floor and power outlet (right to left).

Last but not least, the first new earthquake monitoring instruments, the Centaur digitizer and Trillium seismometer, were installed. Space is ready right beside it for the new accelerometer (Titan).

Inside the Resolute earthquake monitoring station vault showing image of newly installed digitizer with covered seismometer and power manager.
Inside the Resolute earthquake monitoring station vault showing image of newly installed digitizer with space marked for future installation of the accelerometer.

Come back soon to read about upgrades at Charlevoix stations!

Additional information:

August 8, 2016 - The scoop on the new equipment!

We are about to start installing the new instruments. When this is done, all the stations will have the same equipment. This will be a new standard for Canada’s earthquake monitoring network. The new sensors will be more sensitive for recording ground shaking and the digitizer will transfer the information faster and be more reliable. Our network will be more uniform, more reliable and faster.

Seismometer, accelerometer and digitizer – do what?

The seismometer and accelerometer are measuring devices that sense ground movement. Bigger ground motion is detected by the accelerometer. Smaller, weaker ground motion is detected by the seismometer. Both detect different strengths of ground shaking, which is why we have two. The new Trillium 120QA and Titan instruments will detect ground motion very accurately and give us better information on how much and where the ground moved.

Schematic of path of information from ground motion to seismometers to digitizer to data centre to alerting public

A digitizer is the gizmo that takes the information from the sensor and makes it computer readable. The new Centaur digitizer will quickly process and send the information to two data centres all at once. Data is sent by satellite link, radio link, telephone modem, cell modem, or the Internet.

The data centres automatically read and process the information from the digitizer. Earthquakes Canada uses the data to issue alerts through Twitter or our website.

Additional information:

Come back soon to find out where new earthquake monitoring equipment is being installed!

August 3, 2016 - New infrastructure at two stations!

New civil works for two of our network stations have been completed. One brand new station in British Columbia, south-west of Sidney, B.C. and the other in Orleans, Ontario, east of Ottawa. Our technicians with help from Co-op students cleared ground, poured concrete, assembled wires and mounted new vaults. Check out the photos!

Survey Mountain, British Columbia with network station code SYMB

Orleans, Ontario with network station code ORIO

Come back REALLY soon to get the scoop on the new equipment!

July 26, 2016 - The new sensors are here!

Welcome back to the Canada’s Earthquake Monitoring Network Upgrade blog!

The big day has finally come!! The first batch of new equipment has been delivered to our lab. All the technologists at the lab in Ottawa will be preparing the new equipment for deployment in August.

Shipment of new equipment at the lab
Shipment of new equipment at the lab
Shipment of new equipment at the lab

Hi! My name is Josh, a CO-OP student working at NRCan. I just unpacked the truckload of boxes with the new sensors. So many boxes! Next step is bench-testing each unit. I’m very excited to be helping with the upgrade and looking forward to installing the new equipment at a network station!

Organisation des boîtes de capteurs en vue de l’essai au banc
Configuration en vue de l’essai au banc en laboratoire

Come back soon to find out more!

July 8, 2016 - What's being upgraded in Canada's Earthquake Monitoring Network?

Welcome back to the Canada’s Earthquake Monitoring Network Upgrade blog!

The first big shipment of new equipment, from Nanometrics, will be arriving soon: Trillium 120QA seismometers, Titan accelerometers and Centaur digitizers. In the meantime, have a sneak peek at what we will be receiving!

New earthquake instruments for Canada’s earthquake monitoring network : from left to right - Titan accelerometer, Centaur digitizer,  Trillium 120QA seismometer.

New earthquake instruments for Canada’s earthquake monitoring network : from left to right - Titan accelerometer, Centaur digitizer, Trillium 120QA seismometer.

Top view of Centaur digitizer

Top view of Centaur digitizer

Top view of Trillium 120QA seismometer

Top view of Trillium 120QA seismometer

Top view of Titan accelerometer

Top view of Titan accelerometer

Come back soon to see the arrival of the new equipment at our lab!

Other material:

Follow Earthquakes Canada @CanadaQuakes

Feedback: EarthquakeInfo@NRCan.gc.ca

June 24, 2016 - Upgrading Canada’s Earthquake Monitoring Network

Welcome to the Canada’s Earthquake Monitoring Network Upgrade blog!

Map of Canada’s earthquake monitoring network

We are excited that the upgrades to all the monitoring equipment in our network will start this summer. Over the course of the next several years, the equipment will be installed in over 150 stations across Canada.

Why new equipment?

The network has been built in increments since the late 1800s with the most significant upgrades in the 1960s, 1970s, 1990s and some in early 2000s. The existing monitoring equipment is beyond design life. Renewing all the sensors in the network decreases the potential of having to deal with aging components, mechanical failures, and depletion of spare parts.

Installation of new state-of-the-art systems across the entire earthquake monitoring network will improve Canada’s earthquake monitoring ability and enable faster capability to issue alerts for large local earthquakes to critical infrastructure, emergency response organizations, media and the public.

Equipment inside the vault at the Buckingham Station (GAC), Quebec.
Vault at Campbell River Station (CBB), British Columbia

Come back soon to find out more!

Other material:

Follow Earthquakes Canada @CanadaQuakes

Feedback: EarthquakeInfo@NRCan.gc.ca