New project in cryoseismology

16 February 2024

In 2023, the National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakhstan started to carry out work under the program-targeted financing (PTF) "Assessment of climate change impact on the development of ice quakes that reflect the process of melting large-scale glaciers in the Tien-Shan region based on seismic and infrasound data.

In recent years, a new area of research in the field of seismology - cryoseismology - has been rapidly developing in the world. Seismic observations make it possible to monitor the occurrence of various processes in ice, glacier movements, variations in the parameters of fracturing activity related to temperature and other climatic changes

At the end of 2023, reconnaissance studies were carried out to select locations for installing seismic and infrasound stations near the Engilchek Glacier of the high-altitude Tien Shan and to study the possibilities of registering events related to the glacier's processes.

A set of modern field equipment that had previously proved itself as reliable and effective when working in different regions of Kazakhstan, was used to conduct field instrumental seismic and infrasound research.  The registration of events was conducted at three different points: Kalzhat, Sumbe, and Bayankol located at a distance of 56 - 170 km from the glacier.

The processing of the obtained field records was conducted in the Data Center of the NNC RK. Several events were consistently recorded each day at all three stations, with their epicenters found within the glacier.

Currently, the processing of all field materials has been completed. The parameters of 33 events on the glacier have been determined, including their magnitude and energy.

Based on the outcomes of reconnaissance work, the exact locations for installation of equipment for long-term registration of glacial earthquakes, which will begin in 2024, have been selected.

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