Sustaining USArray Capabilities in Alaska

Since the Alaska deployment began in 2014, stakeholders have come to recognize USArray’s unprecedented capabilities. USArray stations now collect seismic, meteorological, infrasound, and soil temperature data in parts of the state that previously had little to no monitoring capability at all. The $50 million facility is operated by the nonprofit university consortium IRIS under funding from the National Science Foundation as apart of the EarthScope project. The project ended in fall 2018, and IRIS will decommission the network and associated data products in summer 2020.

Sustaining USArray Capabilities in Alaska lays out a strategy for “adopting” stations from the array into the existing seismic network operated by the Alaska Earthquake Center at UAF. The document’s implementation plan was developed in response to years of stakeholder efforts, including the two-day workshop on longterm USArray sustainability hosted by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States in November, 2016.

The objectives of USArray adoption vary considerably in different regions of Alaska, as do costs and logistics. Thus, the implementation plan divides the state into three regions, each with its own set of priorities (Figure 1). The origin and goals of this plan are laid out in the introduction of the Sustaining USArray document. The first few pages provide a high-level summary of why and how the current plan was developed. The rest of the document is devoted to technical implementation details.

The USArray initiative is included in the governor’s FY21 proposed budget as a one-time capital project. Long-term financial support for the facility is intended to come from federal sources. The purpose of the one-time state investment is to catalyze year-over-year federal support by delivering data and products that meet the needs of federal agency partners. This state-level strategy is described in detail in the business plan for the FY21 capital project.

Arctic region: Introduce meaningful earthquake hazard assessment to the U.S. Arctic

Southern tier: Lay a foundation for Earthquake Early Warning in Alaska

Southeast region: Improve the speed and accuracy of earthquake reporting in Southeast Alaska