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July 24, 20233 min read

Enhancing SiteAlert: Empowering Structural Health Monitoring for Critical Infrastructure

In a world where seismic events and surrounding activities can pose significant threats to the integrity of critical infrastructure, it becomes crucial to have a robust monitoring system in place. Vibrations generated by natural and anthropogenic seismic events, such as earthquakes, can instantaneously weaken structures. While weak but frequent vibrations from surrounding activities can accumulate over time, gradually compromising structural integrity. Recognizing the importance of addressing these challenges, Nanometrics continually evolves SiteAlert's dynamic structural health monitoring platform to provide comprehensive solutions to customer needs.

Structural Integrity Challenges

The world continues to develop, expand and advance. We have become more connected and reliant on infrastructure and supporting industrial activities (mining, energy production and storage, etc). As our cities, infrastructure, and industrial activities expand and increase in complexity, ensuring we understand and manage risks and hazards becomes crucial to our populations, facilities and the environment. The Nanometrics SiteAlert portal is a tool to help understand and proactively manage these risks.

SiteAlert serves as a comprehensive structural health monitoring system, including local early earthquake warning capabilities. Our Structural Health Monitoring Service utilizes ambient noise interferometry and strong motion analysis techniques to deliver real-time insights into structural changes to help assess potential risks to critical infrastructure. The platform also offers access to ground motion monitoring, incident reporting, and alerting when defined thresholds are exceeded and will soon be able to integrate other sensors. With graphical representations of active ground motion data, including acceleration, velocity, and response spectrum, SiteAlert provides valuable insights to operators responsible for the structural integrity of critical infrastructures.

SiteAlert Early Earthquake Warning(EEW) Module

Structural health monitoring and early earthquake warning systems are crucial technologies that significantly mitigate the risks associated with earthquakes and ensure the safety of infrastructure and human lives. Structural health continuously monitors infrastructures to assess their condition and detect any potential damage or deterioration. 

The SiteAlert EEW module is based on the on-site P-wave approach using the weaker P-wave arrivals to estimate levels of potential shaking for the approaching S-waves. With this, SiteAlert EEW module can issue advance warnings for potentially damaging earthquakes before the strong shaking starts. The SiteAlert platform supports the integration of third-party EEW notifications generated by regional/national seismological agencies. This integration can increase the advance warning lead for distant earthquakes.

Understanding the Impacts of Seismicity at all scales

To effectively understand and effectively manage the risk associated with seismicity, one needs to be able to link the seismicity with the surface impact of those events. SiteAlert provides this critical link between seismicity and its impact on nearby facilities/populations.

For example, a large power utility is operating a regional seismic network to monitor seismicity through an Athena Web Portal in a region with mining activities and several power plants. The power utility can access individual SiteAlert Portals for each power plant through their Athena Seismicity portal providing an efficient way to understand the impact of both natural and anthropogenic seismicity on critical facilities. This is increasingly important as industrial activities (energy production, carbon capture and sequestration, enhanced geothermal systems, blue hydrogen facilities, etc.) are near industrial facilities and nearby populations.

In Conclusion

The ongoing development and enhancement of SiteAlert demonstrates Nanometrics' commitment to providing industry-leading solutions in the critical infrastructure and mining markets. By continuing to evolve and improve SiteAlert to better meet customer needs and experience, Nanometrics aims to position SiteAlert as the market-leading monitoring platform for analyzing vibrations, ground motions and structural integrity. With expanded functionality, including access to historic ground motion data, integration of third-party sensors, and modular architecture, SiteAlert empowers operators to proactively monitor and safeguard critical infrastructure worldwide. Through its continuous innovation, Nanometrics strives to contribute to the resilience and longevity of structures in an ever-changing environment.

Figure 1: Incident page for strong motion that displays the details of observed ground motions, the stations affected, and the direction of the ground motion. Graphical representation is present for Acceleration, Velocity, Response Spectra, and Displacement.

Lee Hutton

Director of Business Development - Seismic Monitoring Services