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Your Help Needed to Study Earthquakes


The Earthquake Studies Office of the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey, is seeking volunteers to host a NetQuakes seismograph at their home or business. NetQuakes seismographs access the internet through a wireless router connected to your existing broadband internet connection. The seismograph transmits ground motion data only after earthquakes greater than about magnitude 2.5—otherwise it does not consume significant bandwidth. The physical dimensions of the seismograph are slightly larger than a shoebox. All seismic events recorded by the NetQuakes seismographs are posted on a publicly accessible website.

Hosts will need to provide the following:

  • An out-of-the-way location in a 1- to 2-story building with a concrete floor to which the NetQuakes box can be bolted. Basement or garage floors work well.
  • AC power to the seismograph. These instruments consume very little power, typically about 25 cents per month.
  • A permanent broadband connection to the internet. If you don’t have WiFi, we can install a WiFi router.
  • Occasional minor servicing of the instrument, such as battery replacement.

Deployment of these seismographs in seismically active regions of western Montana will improve our understanding of earthquake occurrence and regional seismic hazards. We are particularly interested in finding suitable sites in the Manhattan–Clarkston Valley–Three Forks, Helena, Lincoln–Ovando, and Swan Valley areas.

To learn more or sign up to host a NetQuakes seismograph, please visit http://earthquake.usgs.gov/monitoring/netquakes/.