Rocky Mountain (56th Annual) and Cordilleran (100th Annual) Joint Meeting (May 3–5, 2004)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-5:00 PM


SPRENKE, Kenneth F., Department of Geosciences, Univ of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-3022, WEISER, Stephen, Idaho Bureau of Disaster Services, Boise, ID and BRECKENRIDGE, Roy M., Idaho Geological Survey, Moscow, ID,

Earthquakes are a subject of Earth Science that fascinates school children. Teachers in Idaho should be aware that the entire state is at risk from earthquakes. Hundreds of small events are recorded every year and every twenty years a larger event has occurred that has damaged property and threatened or taken human lives. While most earthquakes occur in less-populated areas, all of Idaho's urban areas are surrounded by active faults and are thus exposed to seismic shaking. Even moderate earthquakes could cause extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure built before the building codes of the 1990's. In all cases there are sizeable inventories of buildings that do not have the strength to withstand even moderate shaking. Given the rapid growth of these areas, more population is exposed to losses of property, health, and life. Vital transportation routes can be blocked by landslides induced by seismic activity, and many dams are built near, sometimes very near, known faults.

There are 11 institutions that operate seismometers or calculate earthquake locations within Idaho . However, no single organization covers the entire state at a magnitude level less than 3.5 or with high-precision locations. The Advanced National Seismic System ANSS, a program of the USGS, has provided an opportunity for Idaho to establish a statewide virtual network to collect seismic data and interpret seismic information from multiple sources, and report on those interpretations. Since such capability is vital to the physical and economic well-being of Idaho, the state's emergency management organization, the Bureau of Disaster Services, has proposed a vision for implementing ANSS in the state through the cooperation of the many institutions that maintain seismographs in or near the state. The Idaho Geological Survey (IGS) is designated by statute as the lead agency for the collection and dissemination of geologic data and has offices in Moscow at the University of Idaho, in Boise at Boise State University, and in Pocatello at Idaho State University. Seismic information on the local geological environment for teachers and students is available via the IGS website, which also provides near real-time seismograph traces from many networks in and around the state.