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Collaborative USGS-NEES Earthquake Hazard Studies in the Reno-Carson City Urban Corridor

Principal Investigator: William Stephenson, US Geological Survey (USGS)

The overall goal of this experiment is to provide high-resolution images of the sediment structure in the Truckee Meadows Basin and vicinity (Reno-Carson City, Nevada, June 2009). The Reno-Carson City work will provide key constraints on earthquake hazard assessments in this large, at-risk area and lead to improved earthquake ground motion simulations that earthquake engineers could use to assess potential losses. Funding for the experiment is currently available from the USGS through the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program.

The proposed research consists of seismic reflection experiments to image the upper 1 km of the sedimentary basins underlying the Reno-Carson City urban corridor. The seismic profiles will be about 10-15 km in total length using P-waves generated by the NEES vibroseis truck Thumper. This investigation is motivated by the need to better understand the sedimentary basin structure and detect faults that may be hidden under the recent alluvial cover in this seismically active area. Additionally, this experiment is motivated by the need to better understand the spatial and long-term temporal patterns of deformation, so that earthquake recurrence models that underlie hazard assessments may be put on sounder scientific footing.