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Eskdalemuir Seismological Recording Station

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Seismological Recording Station on the B709, 2006
Seismological Recording Station
on the B709
© David Medcalf

A Seismological Recording Station command post lies adjacent to the east side of B709 road in Eskdalemuir Forest.

The command post station is operated by Güralp Systems Ltd on behalf of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Blacknest Seismological Group, which analyses the recordings from seismometers, including Eskdalemuir, as part of the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) international monitoring system. The station monitors and records seismological signals arriving at the site, together with their time of arrival. This data is then analysed in conjunction with similar records obtained from similar stations around the world, and used to determine the source of those signals. Unlike naturally occurring seismological events, those originating from artificial sources, such as nuclear explosions, have a different pattern, or signature, and can be identified, together their general point of origin. Seismologists are able to discriminate between earthquakes and the large number of other signals such as quarry blasts, explosions, sonic booms, and collapses, which are recorded in addition to earthquakes.

The Eskdalemuir Seismological Recording Station is located in southern Scotland and has been in operation since 1962, making it the longest-operating steerable seismic array in the world. It is situated on the eastern side of the Langholm-Innerleithen road (B709) about 18 miles north of Langholm and two miles north of the Eskdalemuir meteorological observatory.

It comprises a recording laboratory, a seismological vault and an array of seismometers installed in pits spaced over an area 10 km2.

The seismological vault is about a quarter of a mile east south east of the laboratory, and the array lies to the east in the form of a cross, its centre, about 1½ miles from the laboratory. The latitude of the point of intersection of the two lines of the array is 55° 20' north and the longitude is 03° 09½' west.

- Quotation from Güralp Systems web site

The group's seismologists solved the mystery of the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk. Claims had been made by the Russians that the initial damage to the submarine had been caused by a collision with a Royal Navy submarine. By analysing the recordings from seismometers, including the one operated at Eskdalemuir, the AWE team was able to prove that there was no collision. Instead there had been a small initial explosion, followed by a much larger one.

British Geological Survey Eskdalemuir Seismological Observatory

British Geological Survey<br clear='all' />Eskdalemuir Observatory, 2006
British Geological Survey
Eskdalemuir Observatory
© Kevin Rae

To the south of the AWE station lies the Seismological Observatory of the British Geological Survey (BGS), which operates a monitoring network of some 145 seismograph stations across the United Kingdom.

The BGS Eskdalemuir site was built in 1904, with the equipment installed there being relocated from its original home in Kew Gardens, near London, when the electrical and physical noise there began to interfere with measurements. The observatory monitors a number of parameters in addition to seismological events, including:

  • Climatological data
  • Solar radiation
  • Atmospheric pollution
  • Geomagnetic fields

In the early evening of December 21, 1988, the observatory's seismometers recorded the destruction of PanAm Flight 103, which exploded over the nearby town of Lockerbie in an event which registered 1.6 on the Richter scale.

2012 record observations

At the start of 2012, it was reported that a number of record-breaking observations had been recorded by the Eskdalemuir Observatory[1]:

  • 2011 was the wettest year recorded to date, 2,289 millimetres (7.5 ft) of rain over 12 months. This was 66 millimetres more than recorded in 1928, the wettest year previously recorded during 100 years of observation
  • rainfall in every month of 2011 was above average
  • the average temperature during 2011 was 8.13°C significantly above the average of 7.18°C
  • the coldest night was January 7 at -10.1°C
  • the hottest day was June 3 at 24.4°C
  • April was the sunniest month recorded, with 198 hours of sunshine, compared to 198 before, also during April, but in 1942

References

1 BBC News - Eskdalemuir rainfall highest on record Retrieved January 04, 2012.

Photographs

Seismological station, 2008
Seismological station
© Chris Eilbeck
Remote sensor, 2008
Remote sensor
© M J Richardson


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