DCNR, DEP Increasing Efforts to Monitor Seismic Activity in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (EYT) – Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn yesterday announced that the department, in partnership with the Department of Environmental Protection, is increasing earthquake monitoring in the commonwealth.

For a number of years now DCNR, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania State University, has been monitoring seismic activity (commonly referred to as earthquake activity).

The new joint effort will maintain a real-time network of 30 seismic stations around the state, many of them on state park lands.

“This initiative will help our Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey continue to map what is underground, and give us increased knowledge about naturally occuring events, as well as induced seismic events resulting from quarry blasts, injection and hydraulic fracturing,” Dunn said.

In addition to the 30 stations, a pool of up to five temporary stations will be maintained for rapid deployment to investigate in detail seismic events of interest.

“This effort will give us a better overall understanding of the state’s geology. It will allow us to know what is normal, and to be able to quickly identify what isn’t normal – whether man-made or natural,” DEP Secretary John Quigley said. “We can then apply this important information to permitting decisions and other work that protects public safety.”

DCNR and DEP are contributing a total of about $531,000 to support the seismic network for a period of three years.

Penn State will be working to create a website to provide public access to the data.

Pennsylvania experiences a relatively low level of natural earthquake activity compared to active states such as Alaska and California. However, small earthquakes do occur in the state, and all of Pennsylvania has been subject to the effects of earthquakes located outside our borders.

For more information about earthquake activity in Pennsylvania visit the DCNR website at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/topogeo/hazards/earthquakes/index.htm.

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