The AlpArray Seismic Network: A Large-Scale European Experiment to Image the Alpine Orogen

Surv Geophys. 2018;39(5):1009-1033. doi: 10.1007/s10712-018-9472-4. Epub 2018 Apr 18.


The AlpArray programme is a multinational, European consortium to advance our understanding of orogenesis and its relationship to mantle dynamics, plate reorganizations, surface processes and seismic hazard in the Alps-Apennines-Carpathians-Dinarides orogenic system. The AlpArray Seismic Network has been deployed with contributions from 36 institutions from 11 countries to map physical properties of the lithosphere and asthenosphere in 3D and thus to obtain new, high-resolution geophysical images of structures from the surface down to the base of the mantle transition zone. With over 600 broadband stations operated for 2 years, this seismic experiment is one of the largest simultaneously operated seismological networks in the academic domain, employing hexagonal coverage with station spacing at less than 52 km. This dense and regularly spaced experiment is made possible by the coordinated coeval deployment of temporary stations from numerous national pools, including ocean-bottom seismometers, which were funded by different national agencies. They combine with permanent networks, which also required the cooperation of many different operators. Together these stations ultimately fill coverage gaps. Following a short overview of previous large-scale seismological experiments in the Alpine region, we here present the goals, construction, deployment, characteristics and data management of the AlpArray Seismic Network, which will provide data that is expected to be unprecedented in quality to image the complex Alpine mountains at depth.

Keywords: Alps; Geodynamics; Mountain building; Seismic imaging; Seismic network; Seismology.

Publication types

  • Review