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Apache shares seismic data for earthquake research

(Fairbanks, AK) – Apache Alaska Corporation is sharing its Cook Inlet 3-D seismic data with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) to better identify seismic hazards in Southcentral Alaska.

UAF’s Geophysical Institute has begun the process of accepting and processing the data and will begin modeling efforts to help geologists at UAF and DGGS better identify seismic hazards in the area.

“Data sets like these are much too expensive to be acquired for basic scientific research and we greatly appreciate Apache’s generous donation. This is a great example of how public-private partnerships can generate public benefits that go far beyond state revenue and jobs created through exploration and development of our natural resources,” said Bob Swenson, state geologist and DGGS director. 

“This data set has the potential to generate a quantum jump in scientists’ overall understanding of earthquake hazards in Southcentral Alaska – one of the most seismically active and densely-populated regions of the state,”  said Rod Combellick, DGGS hazards geologist and division operations manager. “Better understanding these hazards can lead to improved earthquake planning and risk mitigation,” he said.

“Apache is pleased to share the product of our seismic surveys – continuous monitoring to be recorded over two to three years – because the data will provide the state of Alaska with the ability to map the locations of earthquakes and surface faults and study ground motion over the large, earthquake-prone area in the Northern Cook Inlet,” said John Bedingfield, Apache’s vice president for Worldwide Exploration and New Ventures.

Apache is the first company in the Cook Inlet region to deploy a new, low-impact ‘nodal receiver’ technology to support oil and gas exploration efforts.  With this technology, an operator is able to download a continuous data stream through a wireless connection.  As a result, all earthquake activity that occurs during the recording period – most of it undetectable at ground surface – is captured and recorded in a three-dimensional framework.  

Seismologists at the UAF Geophysical Institute plan to use the seismic data to model the geologic structure of the shallow crust and better define the interface between the North American Plate and the subducting Pacific Plate. DGGS geologists will analyze the UAF models and compare them with known active faults and folds to help assess current activity and potentially identify previously-unmapped active faults.

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