DNR seismometer stolen off Rattlesnake Ridge - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

DNR seismometer stolen off Rattlesnake Ridge

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Seismograph Seismograph
Solar panel Solar panel

4-13-18 UPDATE:

WAPATO, WA – On March 7, 2018, at 3:00 pm, the Department of Natural Resources reported that some of their seismograph equipment had been stolen from the Rattlesnake Ridge landslide area.

Seismologists arrived at the landslide area to check on their monitoring equipment. They noticed that parts of their equipment were missing. Some of the items missing were two 60W solar panels, and one Guralp 6TD seismograph worth approximately $12,000.00. The seismograph is about the size of a coffee can and it is useless to anyone who has stolen it.

The public is encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office if they see people or vehicles on the ridge. There is a section of Thorp Rd that is closed to the public with barriers. The ridge is posted with no trespassing signs and it is private property. The land is not stable and any rescue attempts unnecessarily endanger the lives of emergency workers. Please stay off the ridge.



UNION GAP, WA - We learned today that a seismometer was stolen from up on Rattlesnake Ridge.

The equipment is worth about $18,000, and DNR - the owner - says they discovered it missing last month. The discovery came after a routine check from one of the employees. DNR hadn't received a signal from the seismometer, so an employee went up to the ridge to inspect the instrument when they realized the $18,000 equipment was gone.

The instrument is 1 of 24 seismometers monitoring Rattlesnake Ridge.

According to the spokesman of DNR, this is something they have to work around since it is not in their budget to replace the instrument.

"We're still getting a bunch of information off it," said Joe Smillie. "We built a lot of redundancy into the monitoring setup just in case something went wrong. Obviously we were not expecting one to get taken, but we are still getting good reports from the equipment we have up there."

We spoke with the Yakima County Sheriff's Office, and they say they have no leads up to this point. They were able to recover a partial fingerprint from the scene, but were unable to get any information off it.

This particular seismometer was located on the east side of the slide, right next to an access road - a location that people aren't allowed on for safety purposes.