PSN-L Email List Message

Subject: station failures and quakes
From: sean@...........
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2001 20:48:29 -0600 (CST)


I agree from years of experience that "Mother knows" when a network is
crippled, and that redundant systems secretly coordinate their failures.
Only in the Aleutian network did we find that activity did not decrease
after the summer maintenance and refurbishment effort, probably because
we usually had 10 to 20 quakes per day. I had also interleaved the 
telemetry, microfilm, and tape channels to frustrate "Mother" so that
a 50% channel loss would still leave us with 100% of the area coverage.

If nothing else goes wrong, the best trained human will destroy the data,
often because they are the most important scientist and not the guy who
routinely handles the data, so they make a backup of the data on a non-
existent server, ignore the complaints (they KNOW they are right) and 
then trash the original data by some very clever stupidity. Even in the 
days of photo-recording, the top geophysicist walked up the street to
recover the records of the Good Friday Alaskan quake from the station
under the gym, and on the way back to our processing darkroom, let the 
lid fall off the light-tight photo-record container. The press was all
over the place, but all we had was very black records!

There is more to the Ozark network story. We were doing a pre-impoundment
study for a C.O.E. planned dam on the Meremac river that the voters
finally killed (which was even more of a plus because the dam would have 
flooded the caverns where my CCM station now is.) We always try to get
the interest and enthusiasm of our property owners in permitting station
sites. But the scientific value of out study (we didn't openly connect
it to the dam project) seems to have been lost on some of the locals
in this area of dirt roads and hardwood forests. We had a few yagi antennas
stolen because they looked like TV antennas, and we did recover one from the
top of a house trailer. But when we went to remove the network, one station
was completely missing, so we went to the landowners' cabin. It was all
there on his porch; he claimed that he thought we had lost it. But when
I went to pick it up, he stepped in and said it was his, and I would have
to pay him a finders' fee. He wanted $100, but all I had was about $40,
so he took it. After I loaded the equipment, I told him that if I had any
problems with any other stations in the area, I would burn his cabin down,
which is the ultimate threat in a feud in those parts. I know that the
old boys in the area communicated fairly well, so we didn't have any 
further problems. At the time we were planning on re-occupying the same
sites for post impoundment seismicity studies.

We had a similar problem in Tadjikistan, were anything scientific "like"
was associated with less-than-popular Moscow by the nomadic horsemen, who
liked to lasso the yagi antenna (on a 3 m pipe mast) and drag it down.


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Larry Cochrane <cochrane@..............>