A Continental-scale Seismic Observatory

Adopt a Station

The presence of the USArray's Transportable Array provides a unique opportunity for regional networks, educational institutions, or other entities to acquire a state-of-the art, fully operating seismic station for the cost of equipment. USArray, in cooperation with the National Science Foundation, the agency that funds the EarthScope project, will coordinate the transfer of Transportable Array stations to organizations interested in operating a single seismic station, starting a seismic network, or expanding or upgrading an existing network. This program enables adopting organizations to gain an asset at significant savings while enhancing their monitoring and educational capabilities, and cooperating in national-level research.

Organizations can develop a high-quality, proven, installed earthquake recording station for less than the total cost of construction and equipment to:

  • use as an educational resource
  • record ground motion from local, regional, and global events
  • supplement an existing seismic network or start a new network
  • expand U.S. seismic recording capability

More Info

Advantages of Adopting a Transportable Array Station

  • A proven, installed station is obtained for less than the cost of the equipment alone.
  • Initial permitting, construction, and installation costs are borne by USArray.
  • One-time costs are clearly defined.
  • First-time operators are provided with an established operational structure.
  • Transportable Array station design has demonstrated scientific value and technical feasibility.
  • Individual station performance is available for review prior to adoption.
  • Operations and maintenance support of stations over the long term can benefit from access to Transportable Array volume-pricing contracts for equipment and engineered solutions, and engineering support services.
  • The station can contribute data to the Advanced National Seismic System, a nationwide network of earthquake sensor systems that continuously monitor earthquakes and other seismic disturbances throughout the United States and provide real-time information for emergency response personnel.

Early Planning is Essential

As the Transportable Array moves into a new area, USArray personnel make a concerted effort to work with local and regional organizations to optimize sites for Transportable Array stations, upgrade or construct new vaults, and introduce new broadband instrumentation. During the initial contact phase, it is recommended that organizations interested in adopting a Transportable Array station begin to plan for this transition. USArray is obligated to deploy and dismantle Transportable Array stations at a fixed rate and should be notified of intentions to adopt stations at least six months before the planned station removal date to minimize the impact on the Transportable Array field schedule.

Transition of Transportable Array Stations

Lower 48 Stations

Initial Outlay for an Alaska Transportable Array Station

I. Standard Hut and Posthole Equipment

II. Power and Communications

STS-5 or T120PH Broadband Posthole Seismometer $25,000 Genasun Battery System (LiFePO4) $18,900
Hut and Equipment (3-channel Q330, Baler, VIE, QEP w/Environmental Channels, GPS, etc.) $14,700 AGM Battery System (Pb Acid) $10,800
Atmospheric Sensors (Microbarometer, Infrasound) $2,500 Inmarsat BGAN $1,300
Meteorological Sensors (Vaisala) $2,500 Radio to AC VSAT/DSL $2,800
  Cell $1,000
Typical Configuration Total: $64,900


Items not colored blue reflect different configurations in station design and are not reflected in the total.

A 6-channel DAS system costs an additional $1,100. The power system covers three solar panels and either 6 Genasun and 4 secondary AGM batteries or 16 AGM batteries.

III. Ongoing Costs

The estimated approximate costs to operate a station per year vary by site and depend on access ($50-$1500) and telemetry ($1,200 for cell, $2,700-$3,300 for DSL or DSL with radio, or $15,000 or more for BGAN). Costs are likely to vary in the future. EARN services similar to those offered in the Lower 48 may be available if the IRIS facility is operating in Alaska significantly beyond 2019.




  1. New operator must provide identical equipment to the Transportable Array either through purchase or funds transferred to the USArray program.
  2. New operator must obtain a permit from the land management agency or private landowner for continued operation beyond the Transportable Array permit duration.
  3. Data from the station must be made publicly available via the IRIS Data Management Center.
  4. The Transportable Array installation schedule cannot be disrupted by the new operator's field operations or equipment acquisition procedures.

Prices are effective May 9, 2017 and are subject to change.


To start the adoption process and to answer any questions you might have, contact:

Robert Busby
Transportable Array Manager
The IRIS Consortium
1200 New York Ave., NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005