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A Short History of OGS Seismic Monitoring

Helicorders at Leonard Geophysical Observatory, Leonard, Oklahoma
Leonard Geophysical Observatory

The first seismograph in the state, with records held by the OGS, was set up in 1961 at the Leonard Geophysical Observatory in Leonard, Oklahoma. Before the installation of this seismograph, Oklahoma earthquakes were documented by oral accounts and seismic monitoring equipment in neighboring states. In 1976, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) grant provided for a statewide network of remote seismographs, which was up and running by 1977. This network formed the basis of current infrastructure and has continued to be maintained by the OGS through its operating budget even after NRC funding expired. There were approximately 8 permanent seismic monitoring stations throughout the state from 1976 to 2010. This number has increased rapidly over the past few years. The seismic network gradually moved to digital data in the mid-1980s. The switch to digital data allowed for greater archival capabilities and the improved accessibility of OGS seismic records. Moreover, this increased capacity for data coupled with the development of digital communication, has led to the high-tech monitoring equipment and real-time information transfer that is used in the OGS’s seismic network today.