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Locating Operational Events of the Cooling Tower of a Nuclear Reactor with a Very Local Seismic Network

by Chengping Chai, Omar E Marcillo, Monica Maceira, Chris D Young, Thomas P Karnowski
Publication Type
Journal Name
Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1344 to 1355

Geolocation of emergent seismic signals is challenging at close distances. We used three‐component data from a seismic network and a targeted experiment at a research nuclear reactor to locate seismic sources. Utilizing known events collected during the targeted experiment, we were able to infer source locations with seismic amplitudes and polarization characteristics of the data. Although the resolution of the source location is not perfect, the seismic amplitudes and polarization analysis offer useful constraints. For the known events, the source region inferred with our analysis includes the true source locations. Synthetic tests indicate the resolution is largely due to limited data coverage and measurement uncertainties because the synthetic tests show similar results compared with the field data. We identified the source of the unknown event through spectrum cross correlation between the signals from the known events and an unknown event. Our findings were confirmed by operational staff at the facility. When the propagation medium properties (i.e., seismic velocity and quality factor for attenuation) are known, our analysis can be applied to continuous data from a seismic array to infer both source amplitude and location. If the medium properties are not known, a targeted experiment can be conducted to estimate them.