A seismic station is a self-contained environment that consists of equipment on the surface and below the ground. A typical seismic station operated by the AGS, as seen in the photo below, consists of two barrels that are buried underground, that house electronics such as seismometer, digitizer, communications equipment, and a set of four deep cycle rechargeable 12-volt batteries. This set-up ensures maximum protection from extreme weather fluctuations and potential water damage to the sensitive electronic equipment. The seismometer is the heart of every station and is used to detect the ground movement.  When an earthquake occurs, the seismometer records the voltage needed to detect the shaking from incoming seismic waves (P, S, and surface waves). A digitizer then converts this analog recording from a seismometer to a digital signal. Communications equipment is used for a consistent and reliable transmission of the digital signal in near real time, while the solar panels are used to power an entire station.

A 3-D view of a seismic station deployed for the RAVEN network. The station contains a seismometer to detect ground motion, a digitizer to record the ground motion, a transceiver to send the data by the satellite dish to a satellite, and batteries to power the equipment.  The batteries are kept charged with solar panels.


The density of the seismic stations is critical to effective earthquake monitoring. Building a dense network of both telemetered and offline stations increases earthquake sensitivity in the province and increases the reliability of hypocenter inversions. The greater the density of seismic stations, the smaller the earthquake that can be detected and located.

The AGS deployed its first seismic station in 2013 which has formed the bases for a Regional Alberta Observatory for Earthquake Studies Network (or RAVEN). The RAVEN has now expanded to accommodate 18 seismic stations around the province, concentrated in the areas where we have observed an increase in earthquakes.

The AGS has forged partnerships with other organizations to create robust seismic monitoring within the province. The AGS currently receives data from over 100 seismic stations that are operated by eight seismic monitoring networks:


Network Name

Code Name

Operated and Owned By

Regional Alberta Observatory for Earthquake Studies Network


Alberta Geological Survey / Alberta Energy Regulator

Canadian National Seismograph Network


Geological Survey of Canada

Alberta Telemetered Seismograph Network


 University of Calgary

Canadian Rockies and Alberta Network


University of Alberta

TransAlta Dam Monitoring Network


Operated by Nanometrics for Western University; owned by TransAlta

NorthEast British Columbia Network


Owned by Geoscience BC and the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission; operated by the GSC’s Pacific Geoscience Center

Montana Regional Seismograph Network


Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology

United States National Seismic Network


U.S. Geological Survey