RAC Meeting March 2002

Minutes of ANSS Pacific Northwest Regional Advisory Committee

18 March 2002 (convened at the University of Washington Seismology Lab)     

  • Chair: CB Crouse, URS

  • Attendees:
  • John Hooper, Skilling
  • Carol Bryan, CVO
  • Roger Serra, Snohomish County Emergency Management
  • George Crawford, Washington Emergency Management Division
  • Dave Nelson,  Washington EMD
  • George Thomas, PNSN
  • Craig Weaver, USGS
  • Steve Malone, PNSN
  • Marc Eberhard, UW Civil Engineering
  • Ginny Thompson, Bank of America Emergency Management
  • Bill Steele, PNSN, facilitator

  • Via conference call:
  • Julia Shaughnessy, BPA
  • Stephen Weiser, Idaho Emergency Management
  • Rose Gentry, Oregon Emergency Management

Before the conference call was established.

Craig: The Naval Shipyard would be interested in seeing a real-time response spectra data product. This is needed in certain facilities. Possibly the contact person from the Naval Shipyard could be brought into the ANSS advisory committee. The dry-dock facilities could be instrumented, since this is an interesting structure. Also the navy may wish to use strong-motion parametric information such as real-time response spectra instead of just magnitude thresholds for operational decisions. This might be an opportunity to involved DOD more generally in the support and use of ANSS.

Ginny: A military partnership would be beneficial to the support of ANSS in Washington and probably the rest of the country.

Carol: Would site-geology and/or shaking effects be considered sensitive information at a Navy site thus restricting use of the data.

Craig: Some of the geotechnical information at Navy sites is already publicly available, eg, bore-hole data. Also, there is a precedent of the presence of monitoring equipment in restricted facilities. With care and coordination all data should be available to anyone.

Craig: Wash-DOT is examining methods for stopping traffic, eg. on the Alaska Way Viaduct, during significant ground motion from earthquakes.

Conference call was established at 8:50am

1). Report on National Steering Committee meeting of last fall and it's implications for the PNW - George Crawford and Craig Weaver (copy of George Crawford's meeting notes).

George: The ANSS Interim National Steering Subcommittee has made recommendations to the National Implementation Committee and to the Regional Steering Committees:

  • * Expanded monitoring in PNW and N Cal.
  • * USGS should provide additional support to regional networks
  • * Site information be included in station inventories

Craig: The less-than-expected number of new stations in the PNW was unacceptable to the National Steering Committee. However the PNSN is not getting the support it needs to expand operations. Currently the ANSS operationsnation-wide are being partially under-written by the baseline regional network operating budgets which have not been expanded. There is no support from the state of Washington for the PNSN. We need to determine the role of states in regard to ANSS.

Steve: The University of Washington (Provost's office) has been supporting the PNW ANSS activities for $75K a year; however, fiscal 2002 is the last year this will be done. These funds were provided, at least partially to tide the operations over until appropriate state funding is forthcoming.

George: The Nisqually earthquake showed that the regional network infrastructure can be improved. ShakeMap is nice but maybe regional input could be incorporated. Does ShakeMap meet the needs of regional users? A process for the improvement of ShakeMap and other real-time products should be developed. ShakeMap needs to be integrated into HAZUS for the PNW. One thing learned from Nisqually was that "every earthquake has a footprint". As more earthquakes occur, these footprints can be overlayed and to learn something new from the combination.

Craig: Discussions at the National Steering Committee meeting regarding the instrumentation of structures was confusing and no obvious direction was forthcoming. Regions were encouraged to try to develop plans but not at the expense of continuing to install free-field and reference stations.

2). Report on the COSMOS meeting of last fall on ANSS monitoring of structures and its relevance to the PNW. - CB Crouse (summary in PDF)
(Table 1,  Table 2).
CB: There is a recommendation of matching numbers of structure sites and free field/reference sites. This doesn't apply to some regions and the 50/50 parity would need some justification. One structure with 10-30 channels is the equivalent of 10 free field sites.

John: As discussed previously, a portable array can be used for monitoring the spectral characteristics of buildings. The fundamental period of buildings drives all other engineering activity. Evaluating a buildings condition after an earthquake can be done looking for spectral changes before and after large earthquakes.

Steve: I brought this up to the NIC who thought it was a good idea but was more research and ANSS is about earthquake monitoring and is thus not main stream ANSS, at least at current funding levels.

Craig: But the ANSS will have a portable element. We can justify the use of portable instruments for more than just chasing aftershocks.

CB: This is not a huge drain on resources, and could easily be justified as monitoring buildings state of health.

Steve: An action item is for CB and John to write a 1-page rationale for using ANSS portable instruments to monitor the free period of a building. This will be taken to the TIC as for their consideration to include as part of the ANSS portable system.

Craig: Capturing data is the role of ANSS, whether it is main-shocks, aftershocks, or free periods of buildings.

John: Instrumenting structures needs to be well planned. Otherwise, it's not even worth doing. In some cases, 3 instruments in a building does not give you a handle on complicated building models. In some cases, several instruments may be more appropriate. It needs to be thought out before the instruments are installed.

Marc: Is there geotechnical or bore-hole data available for the unique structures?

3) Priorities for the PNSN over the next 6 months and new items - CB Crouse

Craig: DOGAMI has started purchasing instruments. They have $80k for seismograph hardware, and will be buying instruments in groups of 2 or 3.

Steve: There is a need to disperse seismograph sites away from Puget Sound and expand into Oregon. The combination of DOGAMI instruments, USGS internally funded instruments and ANSS instruments makes it possible for up to 7 instruments in Oregon this year. Two are being installed within a week or so (BPA sub-stations). Tentative plans for the three other instruments will be in DOGAMI offices in Portland, in Bend, and Baker or La Grande.

CB: The Nisqually event raised many issues.

  • * More appropriate selection of Frankel sites for re-occupation. Frankel recorded some interesting data, but station KDK was one of the least interesting of Frankel's stations.
  • * A small array over the Duwamish valley south of the Sodo district.
  • * Re-occupy some of the sites that recorded the '65 event which were in Portland, Tacoma, Olympia, and Seattle.
  • * In addition to the basements of buildings, there should be instruments located just outside the building in the ground.
  • * Improved coordination between PNSN, NSMP, and Frankel's group.

John: There is an available site in Dupont that would fill in a geographic gap in the distribution.

Marc: It might be interesting to examine sites that did NOT have liquefaction during Nisqually but were expected to do so.

4) Report on our current strong motion installations and plans for next round - George Thomas

In the calendar year 2001, the PNSN installed 29 new permanent strong motion stations.

20 ANSS stations - 15 are reference, 5 are free field 6 CREST Tsunami Monitoring Stations - free field 3 USGS Stations in BPA facilities - reference

Thus there were 11 new free field sites and 18 new reference sites.

To meet recommendations of ANSS Regional Advisory Siting Subcommittee stations were installed in :

  • * Kent and Puyallup Valleys.
  • * At Aylen Jr High in Puyallup, a location with existing geotechnical data
  • * 2 sites along the trace of the Seattle Fault.
  • * Re-occupation of Frankel's station KDK in the Sodo District.

Some stations were selected based on our working relationships with other organizations:

  • * Boeing Everett Plant
  • * Kitsap 911 Center in Bremerton (Kitsap County Emergency Management)
  • * Oak Harbor and Southern Whidbey (for Island County Emergency Management)

One permanent and several temporary stations were installed in Spokane for monitoring the unusual earthquake activity that began in 2001.

CREST stations, with both strong motion and broadband sensors, were installed along the coast of Oregon and Washington for monitoring of tsunamigenic earthquakes.

Additional activities were increased power hardening of free field sites. One hundred amp-hour batteries will power both the seismograph and the communications equipment for at least 3 days. The seismographs are configured to record internally triggered data in addition to sending the real time data. PNSN will also be adding small back-up power systems to several reference sites.

PNSN now has a total of 78 strong motion stations, where 72 are sending data in real time.

Plans for 2002 include:
6 ANSS stations, 2-4 in Puget Sound and 2-4 in Oregon 3 (or more) stations for DOGAMI, located in Oregon 2 USGS/BPA sites in Oregon

5) Report on national ANSS funding status and plans for helping educate the congressional decision makers - Ginny Thompson

Ginny had been asked by SSA to go to Washington DC to educate congressional leaders and staff regarding funding for ANSS.

Initial ANSS request is for $35M for 5 years. ANSS is being funded at the 10% level. A problem for ANSS is that differences between the administration's priorities and Congress's results in low probability of increased funding this year. Ginny was part of a group of 8 people, including lobbyists for SSA and IRIS who met with representatives or staffers of ten different members of congress.

6) Report on EMD and DNR efforts to generate Washington State support for ANSS activities - George Crawford

EMD is examining the California model of a tax on building permits for generating state revenue. Possibly this tax would only apply to commercial buildings. The PNW definitely needs to develop the infrastructure of strong motion monitoring and data information products.

EMD uses the rationale that they are a "life-safety" organization to maintain their level of state funding. Washington and other state EMD's can have more influence in the state regarding funding. There is a need to better coordinates all 3 states in the Pacific Northwest: Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

A goal of the EMD is to raise about $270k. These funds would stay within a state agency but would be for assisting the PNSN/ANSS efforts. In comparison, the California state funding is around $3.9M, about the same level of the entire ANSS national funding.

7) Report on the efforts of Idaho to organize into a statewide group for participating in ANSS (and which region to join and how) -Steve Weiser

Steve claimed his report was bleak and short. He organized a meeting of Idaho seismic network operators and organizations interested in earthquake information (emergency management, power and utility companies, etc) in January 2002. Steve Malone and Harley Benz attended to provide background and information about the PNSN.

The situation in Idaho is complicated because of several different seismic networks operating independently of one another and mostly with little to no support. Steve has proposed partnering between Idaho Disaster Services and the Idaho Department of Geology.to develop a virtual state seismic network using the exiting networks and the ANSS structure. It would need to include Boise as the urban target for ANSS. At this time there seems no major reason for Idaho not to have a prime connection with the Inter-mountain region of the ANSS and a secondary connection with the PNW. A NSMP station has recently been installed in Boise, Idaho.

8) An E&O questionnaire is used in other regions - should we use it - Steve Malone

Steve presented a questionnaire for prospective users of strong motion data. This questionnaire is currently used by 2 or 3 of the eastern regional networks.

George: This is a nice questionnaire. It's a useful tool in the important task of educating the public. CREW can help facilitate the distribution of the questionnaire if needed. Maybe the questionnaire should have some region specific questions on it.

Rose: The Oregon Seismic Safety Commission would be very happy to help with the distribution of the questionnaire.

Marc: We should consider the length of the questionnaire. Most people won't take the time to fill it out if it is going to take more than 5 minutes.

Steve: An option is to target the recipients of the questionnaire so that we can have a high return rate.

There should be some additional questions which are specific to the PNW added to the questionnaire to get more specific information. Bill Steele will draft a few of these questions.

9) New business -

CB When should the next meeting be and what other things can the Advisory Committee do to help?

The discussion seemed to suggest that the next meeting should not occur until there were specific reasons but that in the time frame of mid to late summer would be appropriate when the next round of instruments were being installed.


  • Steve will work with George (and Tony Qamar) on developing a report for the Seismic Safety Committee on PNSN activities directly related to the needs of the State of Washingtonand worthy of their direct support.
  • CB and John will prepare a short one-page "white paper" describing the needs for and uses of a protable array for building "state-of-health monitoring for Steve to present to the TIC as a component of ANSS "Portable Arrays".
  • Steve and George Thomas will look to an expansion of the strong-motion instrumentation into the south Seattle area (previously monitored by Art Frankel's group), perhaps via a small array (2-3km size) of instruments.
  • Steve will look to having a representative of the NSMP and Art Frankel's group become part of the PNW  ANSS Work Group.
  • Bill will add some PNW specific questions to the ANSS questionnaire, circulate for review and then he and George Crawford will arrange for it to be distributed to CREW and other appropriate participants in a survey.