- © 2012 by the Seismological Society of America
Locating scientific instruments in remote regions of the planet poses many common problems beyond just logistics, in particular when these instruments are to function autonomously or semiautonomously. In seismology, this is particularly prevalent for seismic stations located in the polar regions of the planet. Extremely cold, but also variable temperature, wind, and sunlight conditions as well as general inaccessibility hamper both operation and maintenance of equipment in such regions (Gill, 1974; Holcomb, 1982). The search for a reliable source of electrical power for the continuous operation of sensors and digitizing equipment continues to be one of these concerns. Many technologies have been investigated including radioisotope thermoelectric generation (e.g., Lamp, 1994), thermal electric generators (TEGs) (e.g., Holcomb, 1982), diesel engines, chemical batteries, wind and solar power generation (Anandakrishnan et al., 2000), and more recently, fuel‐cell technology (e.g., Stehle et al., 2011). Each technology has its own pros and cons, and in general, the technology that is chosen is based on which best suits the application, its requirements, and stresses of the station and its operators. For seismic instruments, this often requires that any noise generated by this choice does not adversely affect the operation or observations of ground motion the instrument is trying to measure. Such is the case at the Yellowknife teleseismic array in Canada’s Northwest Territories.
Commissioned in 1962, the role of the Yellowknife seismic array (YKA) was to investigate the capabilities of distributed arrays of seismometers to monitor for the tell‐tale ground motions from explosions of nuclear weapons testing by the then nuclear‐capable countries of the United States, Great Britain, France, and the former Soviet Union. In one of the eventually five similar arrays constructed by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), the research was to determine if small numbers of seismic arrays could be …