Link to NMT article on the vault (7/14/08)
Link to El Defensor Chieftan article on the vault (7/19/08)
Link to CurrentArgus (Carlsbad, NM) on the vault 7/26/08)
Needs and goals of the construction (early draft, pdf file).
GANTT chart of cost/schedule (pdf file)
Images in reverse chronological order (most recent at top)
10/24/08 - Solar panel array came online today. 40 amps, 24 V.
10/24/08 - Battery enclosures and charge controllers.
10/10/08 - Electrical work is underway. Unistruts on south wall of warehouse
will support the solar panel array. Also seen is the forklift and man cage
used for the construction.
8/15/08 - Exterior almost finished. Final color coat has been placed.
8/15/08 - Interior has been finished and painted. The holes in the
west wall of the interior sensor room are cable ports for the
recorders that will be located outsideof the sensor room.
7/24/08 - Stucco work begins. The shaded west wall is done first. The north
and south walls are always shaded at this time of year, and will be done
next. This afternoon, the east wall will be done when it is shaded.
It is important to prevent the stucco from drying too quickly, to prevent
cracking. The pumice-crete walls required no lath, so this is a quick
7/23/08 - Starting to look like a real building. The R-40 refridgerator door
7/22/08 - This view is from the south-west. The roofing is complete and the
surrounding ground has been cleaned and leveled. At this time of year,
the East wall is completely shaded ~10.30am, and the West wall becomes
exposed to the sun ~16.30pm. The South wall is always shaded.
7/15/08 - Trusses for the hip roof going up. Soon the interior will
7/10/08 - Sidewalk and curb has been poured. Supports for the roof
can be seen. Bollards to prevent turning truck damage can be seen.
7/01/08 - Forms have been removed, revealing the pumice-crete
walls. Through the doorway can be seen the piers. Even without
the roof and door, walking into the vault brings on a sense
of silence and peace.
6/26/08 - Detail of the still-wet pumice-crete. The pumice is mined
locally in the Jemez Mountains.
6/26/08 - Pumice-crete cannot be pumped into the forms, so a crane and
bucket is used. 86 cubic yards are needed.
6/18/08 - Without pausing for a breath, the wall forms go up. This will
the last picture with the piers visible from outside the building.
Note the snap-ties that tie the forms. The snap-ties will be removed
when the walls are poured. Clouds indicate the monsoons are nigh.
6/18/08 - Another major milsetone completed. Blocks are protectively
covered while the rest of the vault is built around the piers.
6/18/2008 - Now if they had just laid the Monolith on its side,
seismology would have advanced by 100,000 years.
Movie showing crane lifting block (mov file)
Warning: 200Mb file, bandwidth hog!
6/18/08 - Block being lowered into the pier. Visible is the insulation
to mitigate airflow between pier and block. Not seen are the four
2" diameter, 1.5" high lead (99.9% Pb) support plugs.
6/18/08 - A large crane was necessary.
6/18/08 - Delivering the granite blocks, ready for lifting onto the piers.
6/16/08 - Floor has been poured. With Socorro daytime temperatures
exceeding 100 F, the floor and footings are flooded with water to
prevent overly-rapid concrete curing.
6/12/08 - Taking the "new" North Pier for a test drive. The same sensors/cables
etc have been placed in the same positions as before the granite block was
emplaced. Insulating boxes are normally placed over the sensors for
additional thermal isolation. It may take several months for the pier/block
6/11/08 - The final push to position the granite on the North Pier.
The block rests on three 1" diameter lead plugs, with the interstitial
space filled with fiberglass batting to prevent air movement between
the pier and the block.
6/11/08 - Moving the small granite (4'x4'x6") block to the North Pier.
The North Pier is inside the Instrument Center building, and constructed
on fill. The granite block is an effort to improve coherency
between the sensors.
6/11/08 - Birdseye view of the footing pour, with M Mountain
in the background.
6/11/08 - Pouring the footings.
6/10/08 - Pier has been backfilled and tamped. Footings prepped.
Note the keyway to locate the 28" thick pumice-crete walls.
6/3/08 - Forms removed from the pier. Eastern pier shown.
6/3/08 - Here the effects of inattentive vibration during the pour are
clearly seen in the western pier. It will be interesting to see
if there is a difference in signal characteristics between the
eastern and western piers.
5/29/08 - A nice chunk of rock. Will be placed on the pier when concrete
strength reached 95%.
5/29/08 - Unloading the 2 blocks of granite, each 4'x10'x10", 6,500 lbs.
Granite was sourced from Vermont.
5/28/08 - Curing nicely. After 7 days, strength should be 75%, after 28 days, 95%.
5/27/08 - Major milestone: A big sigh of relief. The formwork held.
5/27/08 - The big pour. Concrete spec'd to 3,500 psi, no steel re-bar (to make
the pier non-magnetic), fiberglass reinforcing. 3/4" aggregate.
5/23/08 - Formwork complete, waiting for the big pour.
5/21/08 - Constructing the forms. These forms need to contain ~60 tons of concrete.
5/19/08 - Change order #1: Base compaction of pier on advice from the soil engineer.
Penetration tests showed the existance of 6"-12" of sand underlain by Socorro
conglomerate to a depth of ~300'. Advice is to enlarge the hole by 50%, dig down
another 2' to remove the sand and expose the conglomerate, then backfill with
compacted base course, conducting penetration tests every 6". This presents
a 105% compacted base that will support the pier. This is the closest to bedrock
that can be achieved.
5/16/08 - Tamping the base of the pier. This exposed a thin sand layer that "liquefied"
during tamping. Will need to bring in a soil engineer to mitigate.
5/13/08 - Breaking ground
Cross-section, view from east.
View from south