Site Selection

Cosmic Explorer

The Cosmic Explorer site selection team is responsible for identifying viable locations for constructing the next-generation gravitational-wave detector. Cosmic Explorer’s ability to observe distant objects in the cosmos will, in part, depend upon its environment here on Earth. Due to the detector’s extreme sensitivity, it must be isolated from environmental noise such as ground vibrations, acoustic noise, and electromagnetic signals. This interdisciplinary team is spread across seven universities and consists of physicists, geoscientists, and social scientists.

At SU, we specialize in seismic sensing and sedimentary basin analysis. We collect new seismic data and mine existing datasets to characterize sources of ground vibrations and to image subsurface properties. Seismic noise occurs at a broad range of frequencies that can obscure desired gravitational-wave signals and can be naturally occurring (earthquakes, microseism produced by ocean waves) or human-made (traffic, trains, construction). Our primary goal is to identify quiet locations that have favorable subsurface properties, and this requires understanding both the physics of wave propagation and resonance as well as the local geology.

Research – Seismic Sensing and Imaging

The 4km long LIGO Hanford x-arm stretching to the horizon. Cosmic Explorer’s arm will be ten times longer.