Connecting the Heart of Norway’s Seismic Beat

by Vorian Maryssael

I had the chance to be present when the last seismometer of the PS27 Seismic Array in Norway was being replaced. What a historic occasion. Dating from the sixties, the station is part of the backbone of our International Monitoring System to detect nuclear explosions anywhere, any time. It’s the largest array in our network of 50 primary seismic stations.  And it carries a history…

When I walked around in the woods, visiting a few of the entry points to its beating heart, I was conscious of all the signals the array has silently picked up throughout the era of nuclear testing.

When we opened the latch to replace the seismometer, the security seal breaks, and a signal is sent to the International Data Center in Vienna. I am amazed. Our presence here, in the middle of nowhere, with only beautiful landscapes to see all around, is immediately recorded in Vienna.

Later, back at the base, we look at the recorded seismic data at the time we stomped about at the site. It generated an event recorded over the complete array! The sensitivity of the equipment is just amazing.

The waveform generated when we opened the latch to replace the final seismometer.

Travelling home I reflect on the beauty of what we do, the elegance of our technologies and how we cooperate across international borders to establish our network. I can’t wait to get home, to see my little twins, wanting to tell them passionately about my visit to Norsar. But being only two years old, they greet me with sticky kisses and incomprehensible long stories to tell of their own. Cars, helicopters and Ipads are their current passion in technology…