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Seismometer Installed in Garrett County

Sensor Will Provide Better Data on Earthquake Activity

Photo of seismometerThe Maryland Geological Survey installed a new seismometer on the Garrett College campus in McHenry. The state-of-the-art sensor uses a suspended weight to detect vibrations in the Earth and feeds that signal into a nationwide monitoring system. 

Since 2002, the Maryland Geological Survey has maintained a single seismometer at the Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area in Owings Mills. The additional sensor in Garrett County will help reveal more about formations and faults beneath the eastern United States.

“This remote location, far from heavy vehicular traffic, will provide our team of geologists and seismologists with baseline earthquake activity and events,” Maryland State Geologist Richard Ortt said. “Data from this site will be fed into our state system as well as a nationwide network giving better insight into seismic activity and events in Maryland and the region.”

The seismic station will be part of the Lamont-Doherty Cooperative Seismographic Network, an array of monitors that gather measurements from permanent sites throughout the northeastern United States. A network of sensors is important because multiple points are needed to pinpoint epicenters and intensity.

While damaging earthquakes are relatively rare in the ancient rock of the Appalachians, Maryland was impacted in 2011 when a 5.8-magnitude earthquake occurred near Mineral, Virginia. Four quakes have been centered in Maryland over the past decade.

Installation of the new sensor was completed with the help of Garrett College Facilities and scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Cooperative Seismic Network.