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Nevada Seismic Research Affiliates (NSRA)
of the University of Nevada

The Nevada Seismic Research Affiliates is organized to promote research in seismology and earthquake hazard reduction activities in cooperation with public and private institutions and individuals. The primary motivation for its formation is a recognition that the University of Nevada needs to be in the forefront of communicating with users of seismic data, understanding their needs, and transfering information related to seismic hazards to them.

Present and possible future activities of the Nevada Seismic Research Affiliates include:
  • publication of a newsletter
  • maintenance of this World Wide Web interface
  • advancing the capabilities of the Seismological Laboratory through purchase of updated equipment
  • technology transfer through conferences, access to faculty, and field trips
  • immediate distribution of earthquake locations and parameters through the Nevada Broadcast of Earthquakes
  • joint research projects with interested organizations

Click here for a 1997 summary of proposed activities and funding levels

These activities can only be supported through contributions to the Nevada Seismic Research Affiliates. For instance, this World Wide Web interface was only made possible by a generous grant from the Union Pacific Corporation. The activities supported by NSRA and its affiliates are not in the category of a fee for service. Rather, the NSRA shares data with member organizations for research purposes, and with the general public. The Seismological Laboratory has a "Sales and Services" capability through which we can provide some services. Major projects are handled as contracts or grants.

The following is a list of studies the NSRA would like to support:

Real-time earthquake notification projects. Earthquake locations determined from Nevada Seismological Lab and nearby stations could provide rapid notification of significant earthquakes to Nevada and California governments and industries. Potential notification customers include the USGS, NDOT, CalTrans, CalOES, NDOT, public and private utilities, railroads, pipelines, telecommunications carriers, mines and quarries, and any organizations having significant structures in our region. Our notification efforts have begun with the Nevada Broadcast of Earthquakes (NBE), a quick epicenter and magnitude determination system. We would like to extend these efforts to provide increased reliability and timeliness, better detection and location in fringe areas, instrumental ground-shaking maps, and special notifications for sensitive sites. The transition from earthquake location incorporating the experience and judgement of a seismologist to an automatic computerized process is still a research project, with considerable uncertainties involved. This is an area where active participation of research affiliates could greatly benefit the Seismological Laboratory. Read more about these projects, with their needed levels of support.

Seismicity Research Projects

These include the Nevada Broadcast of Earthquakes and expansion of our seismic network to provide more complete statewide coverage. We consider it urgent to expand the network to cover the Las Vegas region, where the seismic hazard is poorly understood but the population is expanding rapidly. We consider it desirable to expand the network to eastern and northwestern Nevada, where earthquakes are very poorly located and where important puzzles about the cause, distribution, and characteristics of earthquakes remain to be solved.

UNR Microwave Network
Nevada Seismological Laboratory microwave network to service present and future seismic network stations. Recent and future stations are labeled with the dates transmission began or is expected to begin.

Seismic hazard research projects

We have two goals in this category. First, we would like to establish and operate a strong motion network for free field ground motions in urban and rural areas of Nevada. Nevada has been the third most active state in the United States in terms of the number of historical earthquakes. Alaska is most active, and California is second. However, Nevada does not have a network to record strong ground motions when large earthquakes occur. The modern network we visualize would instantly and automatically report strong motions to the lab after any strong earthquake. Similar networks in California provide critical early information to guide emergency response to earthquakes.
The second goal is to obtain modern portable field equipment that would contribute to studies of aftershocks or local seismic hazard problems. After the Double Spring Flat earthquake, we were able to borrow some instruments to study local effects in the Reno and Carson City area. This sort of study could go on continuously if we had our own equipment. These instruments could also supplement the permanent network to study aftershocks or swarms of small earthquakes, to study small earthquakes in poorly monitored parts of Nevada, or to supplement seismic exploration projects (see below).

Seismic Exploration Projects

In collaboration with Nevada industries, we could develop improved seismic survey techniques and improved interpretations for Basin and Range locations. Arid alluvial valleys and pediments present special challenges to geophysical characterization of mineral, geothermal, and petroleum resource prospects, and to environmental assessments. The faculty and students of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory have conducted intensive and nationally-recognized research into seismic reflection imaging through the highly heterogeneous and faulted stratigraphies characteristic of this region. This group is available to work with industry on areas or data sets of special concern. We would like to enhance our computational facilities to enable routine 3-d prestack migration of large data sets, and to acquire multichannel seismic field data-collection capabilities.
In partnership with William Lettis & Associates, the NSRA has established the Consortium for Economic Migration and Tomography (click for more information). Applying advanced methods in migration and tomography, CEMAT creates research products that will enhance members' ability to cost-effectively generate and develop economic mineral and energy prospects, or to evaluate and mitigate potential seismic hazards.

NSRA Symposium

We would like to organize an occasional symposium on fields of Earth sciences related to geophysics of the Great Basin, invite leading scientists, and publish a quality symposium volume.
The management team of the NSRA believes that the above activities are highly worthwhile and would benefit the citizens of Nevada and the western United States over the long run. We also recognize that government funding for these types of research in seismology is very limited compared to the extent of what needs to be done. It is well known that some special private individuals or corporations are willing to participate through contributions that will support important research problems. An important part of the NSRA is also to listen to the people who use information about earthquakes, and find out what they think is important. For this reason, we invite you to give us your comments, whether or not you use information about earthquakes.

The management team for the Nevada Seismic Research Affiliates consists of the following faculty: John Anderson, Jim Brune, John Louie, Ken Smith, David Von Seggern, and Yuehua Zeng. Persons interested in participating as affiliates should contact one of these personnel (click on a name to send email to that person).

Participants in the NSRA

updated 13 Aug. 1996
Seismo Watch logo Advanced Geologic Exploration, since March 1993.
Past Seismo-Watch for northern Nevada
Union Pacific logo The Union Pacific Foundation, since March 1993.
Proposal archive
William Lettis & Associates logo William Lettis & Associates, since June 1995.
The Center for Economic Migration and Tomography


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