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State seismic network helps tell fracking quakes from natural ones


Tools of modern earthquake science were arranged at the bottom of a 4-foot-deep hole: a Rubbermaid Brute garbage can, a stubby pedestal of fresh concrete and an olive-green cylindrical sensor about the size of a can of beans.

Up on the ledge, in a clearing behind the office at Keystone State Park in Derry Township earlier this month, Kyle Homman peered at an app on his iPod and hopped.

The earth moved ever so slightly at the Westmoreland County site and one of the newest permanent stations in Pennsylvania’s expanding earthquake monitoring network picked up the tremor.

Mr. Homman, the network’s manager, had already re-created this assemblage, alone or with help, at 19 other sites across the state. The sensor was connected to a data logger kept on the surface in a waterproof box connected to the park office by wires threaded through sealed pipes for power and internet.  More

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