Thirty Years Supporting Portable Arrays: The IRIS Passcal Instrument Center
Abstract:Thirty years have passed since establishment of the IRIS Program for the Array Seismic Studies of the Continental Lithosphere (PASSCAL). PASSCAL was part of a coordinated plan proposed to the National Science Foundation (NSF) defining the instrumentation, data collection and management structure to support a wide range of research in seismology. The PASSCAL program has surpassed the early goal of 6000 data acquisition channels with a current inventory of instrumentation capable of imaging from the near surface to the inner core. Here we present the evolution of the PASSCAL program from instrument depot to full service community resource.
PASSCAL has supported close to 1100 PI driven seismic experiments since its inception. Instruments from PASSCAL have covered the globe and have contributed over 7400 SEED stations and 242 assembled data sets to the IRIS Data Management Center in Seattle. Since the combination in 1998 of the Stanford and Lamont instrument centers into the single PASSCAL Instrument Center (PIC) at New Mexico Tech, the facility has grown in scope by adding the EarthScope Array Operations Facility in 2005, the incorporation of the EarthScope Flexible Array, and a Polar support group in 2006. The polar support group enhances portable seismic experiments in extremely harsh polar environments and also extends to special projects such as the Greenland Ice Sheet Monitoring Network (GLISN) and the recent development effort for Geophysical Earth Observatory for Ice Covered Environments (GEOICE). Through these support efforts the PIC has established itself as a resource for field practices, engineered solutions for autonomous seismic stations, and a pioneer in successful seismic recording in polar environments.
We are on the cusp of a new generation of instrumentation driven in part by the academic community’s desire to record unaliased wavefields in multiple frequency bands and industry’s interest in utilizing lower frequency data. As part of the recently funded IRIS proposal to NSF for support of Seismological Facilities for the Advancement of Geoscience and EarthScope (SAGE), IRIS is developing plans for this new instrumentation that will ensure that the PASSCAL program continues to provide state-of-the-art observing capabilities into the coming decades.