Nevada Seismological Laboratory

Nevada Seismological Laboratory
Over 200 Volunteers for Hosting a Seismic Recorder
Results to Date

University of Nevada, Reno

June 17, 2008
Over 200 people responded to the Nevada Seismological Lab's call for volunteers to temporarily host a seismic recorder. Even if you did not end up hosting an instrument, your participation was still critical to our success. We will be thanking each and every one of you personally. In addition, we are planning an evening information session in late July for our volunteers and anyone else. We will show the results of this experiment and discuss additional ways of making our community more resilient to the occurrence of earthquakes.

You can still volunteer! Although our main experiment is winding down, we will be conducting additional experiments throughout the Truckee Meadows. It is essential to our planning that we have you on our map as a willing host. Look below at our previous announcement explaining how to volunteer.

This experiment was an unqualified success. During our second deployment from May 28 through June 1, our deployment of 66 recorders at volunteers' homes and businesses recorded a magnitude 3.1 earthquake in the early hours of May 31. The graphic below shows the seismograms recorded at each volunteer site, arranged by distance from the earthquake's epicenter. The sharp onset of the earthquake's shaking at each recorder is what gives us the information we need to reconstruct how the Truckee Meadows geologic basin affects the shaking. Click on the image for a printable PDF version:

Here is a map showing most of the volunteers who hosted recorders for the second deployment:

Our first deployment, from May 18 through May 22, only caught a magnitude 2.2 event on the afternoon of the 20th. It occurred during rush hour, when ground noise from traffic was high, so it was not recorded well at many sites:

Here is a map of volunteers who hosted recorders for the first deployment:

At Lincoln Park Elementary School in Sparks, Mrs. Roggensack's 3rd-grade class hosted a recorder. The students helped to install and pick up their recorder during both deployments:

(We thank the students' parents and the school for their permission to post this picture.)

We much appreciate your interest, and your community spirit in volunteering!

-The Nevada Seismological Lab

Previous Call for Volunteers

Whether or not you have felt many of the Mogul earthquakes, if you live in Reno, Verdi, or Sparks you can help us with research to make our whole community more resilient.

The Nevada Seismological Lab is looking for hundreds of volunteers around the Truckee Meadows, willing to host a seismic recorder on their property. If you would like to volunteer, please email the following information to John Louie at the Lab ( Use the Subject line ``Volunteer Host'':

The National Science Foundation is providing 90 advanced recorders from their Earthscope Observatory. By recording waves from small earthquakes- even those much too small to be felt- all around the Truckee Meadows, we will learn a great deal about how waves propagate through the rocks below the city. This knowledge will help us to better anticipate the strength of ground shaking during future large earthquakes. A big magnitude 6.5 quake has a 50% chance of hitting Reno over the next 50 years. The more we know about the expected ground shaking, the better we can prepare. If there are ``hot spots'' with markedly increased shaking that appear in these forecasts, the community can make mitigation in those spots a priority.

We will be setting these recorders out from about May 15 until about July 15. The recorder will be in place at your property for less than one week.

If you own or rent a home in the Truckee Meadows, we hope you will volunteer. The recorders are about the size of a loaf of bread, and are silent and completely self-contained. The attached sensor, the size of a coffee cup, should be buried in soil a few inches. Burying the sensor should not disturb your sprinkler lines or any other below-ground services. We would like to locate the sensor in a private area of your yard or patio where it is not easily visible from the street, and where it will be out of the way of your animals and gardening activities.

If you are a condo or apartment dweller, you can still help us if you have a ground-floor patio that is not entirely paved.

If you volunteer, whether or not we select your property to host a recorder, we will send you a note of thanks. As well, with your permission we will add your email address to a list that we will keep updated with the progress of this experiment, and its results.