Design and operation of a 1500-m laser strainmeter installed at an underground site in Kamioka, Japan

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A laser strainmeter with a 1500-m baseline was constructed at an underground site in Kamioka, Gifu Prefecture, Japan, and has been operating since August 2016. The laser interferometer measures the change in distance between two retroreflectors housed in two vacuum chambers with a separation of 1500 m. The retroreflectors are fixed to the ground in the tunnel of the KAGRA gravitational wave telescope. A high-frequency-stabilized laser is used as a light source; it achieves an Allan variance of 3 × 10[−13]. Since operations began, ground motions with large amplitude and timescale variations have been detected. The recorded tidal waveform almost agrees with the theoretical waveform; however, a slight difference of ~13% in amplitude is found, likely due to a topographic effect. The strain spectrum of the observed data for the 1500-m strainmeter indicates that the lowest background noise attained is less than 10[−12] in the mHz band. Seismic waves up to 6 × 10[−7] in amplitude have been observed without saturation or fringe steps. The strainmeter, with its excellent resolution, dynamic range, and bandwidth performance, provides a new method for observing low-frequency ground motion on seismic, geodetic, and intermediate timescales.


  • Earth, Planets and Space

    Earth, Planets and Space (69), 2017-06-08

    Springer Nature


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