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Rapid urbanization forces observatory relocation

By Wang Qian  (China Daily)

08:34, December 07, 2011

TIANSHUI, Gansu - The little white building looks somewhat out of place, with a line-up of cranes in front, a logistic hub on its right and a school on its left.

It is the geomagnetic principal station under the Tianshui central seismological observatory. Set up in 1970, it was moved about 170 meters south to the current location, to keep pace with fast urbanization.

"After a negotiation, we moved the station and shifted the measuring tools underground," Wu Ying, director of the observatory, told China Daily.

This way the monitored data won't be easily influenced by constructions happening overhead.

Seismic stations should ideally be built in remote places, having certain geological features, so that data related to earthquake waves, resistance and radioelement could be recorded accurately without being disturbed by human activities.

The data on Earth waves collected by a seismic station could get distorted even by the impact of a truck running tens of miles away from the station.

But the use of underground monitoring technologies lessens the conflicts between fast urbanization and earthquake monitoring.

He Songyi, a 59-year-old worker in the observatory, said the new technology has largely reduced his work. Earlier, he had to climb telegraph poles to check information.

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