EarthScope MT Backbone Station Begins Operation

The EarthScope Magnetotelluric Backbone station at Blacksburg, Virginia, began operating on April 6, 2008. This station, designated MBB05, is the second of seven permanent magnetotelluric stations to be installed in the continental US as part of EarthScope. The first MT station to come online is located in Soap Creek, Oregon. These instruments record naturally occurring electric and magnetic fields that will be integrated with other geophysical data to identify Earth's thermal structure and to study the significance of fluids in the crust.

A component of USArray, the magnetotelluric element – or EMScope – is managed by Oregon State University through a subaward from IRIS. The Blacksburg station was constructed in collaboration with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Professor Chester Weiss of Virginia Tech, along with Professor Adam Schultz from Oregon State University, lit up the new MT station. Initial magnetic field data recovered from the station are of high quality. Data from the MT systems are archived at the IRIS Data Management Center and are freely available to the scientific community and the public.



Professors Adam Schultz (Oregon State University) and Chester Weiss (Virginia Tech) with Virginia Tech students Eric Kazlauskas and Samuel Fortson at MT Backbone station MBB05 in Blacksburg, Virginia. Shown within the fenced area are the solar array that provides power to the station, a laptop plugged into the data bus that interrogates the MT system, and the white cylindrical vaults that house the MT instruments.


Visit the EMScope web page for more information.