An Offshore Seismic Data Network

by Charles E. Smith, Minerals Management Service, Herndon, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


Response to environmental forces is a major performance consideration in designing offshore oil and gas facilities. Climatic and oceanographic data are available for most offshore sites. This collection of data has yielded a solid foundation on which to base structural designs to meet threats of storm winds, waves, currents, and ice flows. However, in certain regions of the world, such as offshore southern California and offshore Alaska, another equally important environmental threat exists--the strong vibration induced by local earthquakes. Data on the response of seafloor sediments to earthquake-induced ground motions are scarce, thereby introducing significant uncertainty for analyzing seismic-hazard aspects of offshore operations. To reduce this uncertainty, a research program has been undertaken by the Minerals Management Service, jointly with industry, to develop and deploy instrumentation to measure seafloor seismic motions and to gather data to assess the effects of large seismic events predicted for the future. The primary objectives of this paper are to present an overview of the Seafloor Earthquake Measurement System (SEMS) Program and to describe the installation of a SEMS network offshore southern California.

Subject Headings: Sea floor | Seismic tests | Seismic effects | Seismic design | Light rail transit | Sediment transport | Uncertainty principles | Offshore platforms | United States | California | Alaska

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