KGS Research on Earthquakes
The Kentucky Seismic and Strong-Motion Network
The Kentucky Geological Survey operates the Kentucky Seismic and Strong-Motion Network. The network monitors microseismicity in eastern Kentucky near fluid injection and deep oil and gas fracking wells, and other activities such as coal-mine and quarry blasts. It also provides essential data for research. For example, we gained a better understanding of the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone by studying the main shock and aftershocks of the Nov. 10, 2012, Perry County earthquake (magnitude .2) (Carpenter and others, 2013). The data from the vertical seismic and strong motion arrays, particularly from the Central United States Seismic Observatory, provide insight into seismic-wave propagation in the thick Mississippi Embayment sediments, including alterations in waveform amplitude, frequency content, and duration (Woolery and others, 2016).
Seismic Hazard, Risk Assessment, and Mitigation Policy
Earthquakes from the New Madrid and other seismic zones pose hazards and risks to the commonwealth of Kentucky. The most effective way to mitigate seismic hazards or reduce seismic risk is to build better buildings and infrastructure. Developing better engineering design and measures for buildings and infrastructure is not easy, however, and requires better assessments of seismic hazard and risk. Our research assesses seismic hazards and risk posed by potential earthquakes in and around Kentucky (Wang, 2010, 2011; Wang and Cobb, 2012; ) and providing information to facilitate development of better engineering design and measures for buildings and infrastructure in Kentucky (Wang and others, 2008; Orton and others, 2016).
International Scientific Exchange on Seismology
Earthquakes in China and the central United States are different. For example, the faults that have been the source of major earthquakes in China are visible on the surface, whereas the faults in the New Madrid Seismic Zone and elsewhere that affect Kentucky are buried deep beneath the surface. The science is similar, however; for example, the way in which strong ground motion propagates and impacts the built environment is similar in both places. Thus, a scientific exchange on seismology between the University of Kentucky and Chinese institutes was established in late 2004. The scientific exchanges have benefited researchers from both countries (Feng and others, 2015; Rong and others, 2016). The exchanges have also benefited UK graduate students by providing research opportunities (Wang and others, 2012).