Articles | Volume 6, issue 2
Research article
09 May 2018
Research article |  | 09 May 2018

Seismic signature of turbulence during the 2017 Oroville Dam spillway erosion crisis

Phillip J. Goodling, Vedran Lekic, and Karen Prestegaard

Data sets

UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, Dataset Berkeley Digital Seismic Network (BDSN)

UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, Dataset Northern California Earthquake Data Center (NCEDC)

Model code and software

Colorcet.m [Computer Code] Peter Kovesi

Short summary
The Oroville Dam flood control spillway suffered catastrophic erosion damage in February 2017. We find that seismic waves recorded by a seismometer 2 km away contain information about the flow turbulence and damage location in the spillway. We show that enhanced turbulence due to spillway damage excites louder seismic waves at a given flow rate, which can be used to detect the onset and track the migration of erosion damage. The methods we use could be used to monitor other structures or rivers.