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 vault 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

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Advantages of Adopting a Transportable Array Station

  • A proven, installed station is obtained for less than the cost of the equipment alone.
  • 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

Initial Outlay for a Transportable Array Station

I. Standard Vault Equipment


II. Communications & Power






Sensor $18,500 $12,000 $18,000
Vault Equipment $16,800 $16,800 $16,800
Radio to Terminal
QEP & Environmental Channels $3,850 $3,850 $3,850
Radio to AC VSAT
Demobilization Credit ($2,075) ($2,075) ($2,075)
Radio to Solar VSAT
Radio to Internet
TOTAL $37,075 $30,575 $36,575
NOTE: A standard TA installation now includes a QEP and Environmental Channels. Excluding the purchase of the sensor, vault equipment, QEP, Environmental Channels, and communications and power systems specified above, the average cost for permitting, excavation, construction, and installation of a Transportable Array station is $21,000. A 6-channel DAS system costs an additional $1,100. Standard power for the vault is one solar panel and one battery. Each additional battery costs $200 and each solar panel costs $450.


Examples of Outlay Costs

  • CMG-3T, Cell, 3-Channel DAS, QEP, Environmental Channels   •  $30,575 + $1,000 = $31,575
  • CMG-3T, Solar VSAT, 3-Channel DAS, QEP, Environmental Channels   •  $30,575 + $12,250 = $42,825
  • STS-2, AC VSAT, 6-Channel DAS, QEP, Environmental Channels   •  $37,075 + $4,000 + $1,100 = $42,175
  • T240, Cell, 3-Channel DAS, QEP, Environmental Channels, 2 Batteries, 2 Solar Panels   •  $36,575 + $1,000 + $200 + $450 = $38,225

Maintenance & Operations Option (EARN)

Not all organizations have the necessary operations and maintenance support infrastructure to keep their newly acquired TA stations running. Organizations that adopt TA stations have the option to sign on for a subscription-based program (EARN Services) that provides the technical services to ensure that former Transportable Array stations continue operating and contributing data to the IRIS Data Management Center. Subscription rates are based on the communications technology present at the stations and average about $5,000 per year. See the Education and Research Network Support Services brochure for more information.



  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 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.

NOTE: Prices are effective April 9, 2010 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