Thread: Update on the SAGE MT Facility - New Instruments, Software Resources, and Training Opportunities

Started: 2021-06-23 11:39:19
Last activity: 2021-06-23 11:39:19
IRIS is pleased to provide an update on the acquisition of portable
magnetotelluric (MT) instruments and our ongoing development of new
resources for MT Principal Investigators (PIs). This work is supported by
the National Science Foundation as part of the SAGE facility, operated by
IRIS and its partners.

Instrumentation for Portable Deployments

The PASSCAL Instrument Center
(PIC) has 12 new LEMI-424 long-period MT systems ready for community use.
These easy-to-deploy, low-power MT systems observe low frequency variations
of the Earth's electric and magnetic fields, enabling PIs to produce 3D
characterization of the electrical properties of the crust and upper mantle
at local to regional scales. These capabilities are equivalent to those
exhibited as part of EarthScope's MT surveys. The LEMIs are available right
now, with special enclosures available to facilitate the ease of transport
and deployment. In addition, all PIs using LEMI-424 systems are eligible to
receive complimentary use of the KMS-200 data processing software package
for one-year as part of a licensing agreement with KMS. In addition,
PASSCAL provides software and training to archive data and metadata for
these instruments with the SAGE Data Management Center.

We are especially excited to announce our procurement plan for wide-band MT
instrumentation. IRIS will obtain a total of fourteen Phoenix MTC-5C data
acquisition systems over the course of 2021. These will be available with
magnetic induction coils from Phoenix (MTC-150 and MTC-180) and Zonge
(ANT-4 and ANT-7). Although both are well-suited for long-period and
wide-band (high frequency) surveys, this variety of coils offers
versatility to PIs and is consistent with the PICs tradition of supporting
multiple types of interoperable geophysical instrumentation. PIs will have
access to the EMPower processing suite for in-field analyses, and PASSCAL
will establish similar "dirt-to-desktop" resources in 2021/2022 for
ensuring that PIs can seamlessly archive data from their experiments in the

Data Formatting and Processing Tools

IRIS is also working with a software developer and collaborators at the
USGS to produce tools to author MTH5, an HDF5-based format for locally
storing and exchanging MT datasets, and a rewrite of the EMTF codebase
(originally authored by Gary Egbert) into a modular, open-sourced,
Python-based software called Aurora. These tools will be available to any
users this fall. MTH5 adheres to new MT metadata standards developed by the U.S. MT

Engaging Potential Users

Finally, we encourage interested PIs to include MT in their funded
experiments and future proposals. We are planning several community
outreach opportunities over the next year targeting potential new users. On
Wednesday, August 18th during the GAGE/SAGE community science workshop, please
consider attending a 75 min professional development minicourse “Everything
You Need to Know About Proposing to Use PASSCAL MT Instrumentation for Your
Science” that presents the PIC’s MT facility and PI-support capabilities,
highlights examples of common usage cases for MT instruments, and provides
a panel discussion on including MT in proposals to NSF. In December, PIC
staff are planning a half-day in-person workshop associated with AGU to
provide hands-on look at MT instruments. Finally, early next summer we
intend to hold a week-long training course for operating MT instruments and
performing first-order processing and analyses of these data.

If you have additional questions about opportunities for using NSF's SAGE
facility for conducting MT research, please do not hesitate to ask.


Andy Frassetto (IRIS, MT Program Manager)

Ninfa Bennington (USGS, Chair-EM Advisory Committee)

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