Micron Optics Optical Monitoring System Installed on Mount Rushmore

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EMI immune FBG based optical sensors measure shifts in rock system that makes up the Mount Rushmore National Monument.

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Rock blocks form on Mount Rushmore when multiple fractures combine.

Monitoring the critical rock blocks for significant movement will enable the National Park Service to preserve the monument for future generation’s enjoyment.

Micron Optics, Inc., a leading provider of innovative equipment for fiber optic sensing and laser imaging, today announces the installation of one of their state of the art optical interrogation systems on one of the nation’s most famous monuments, Mount Rushmore. The Rock Block Monitoring System (RBMS) will provide the National Park Service with critical information about shifts in the rock system which makes up the Mount Rushmore National Monument. This information is critical to the maintenance of the structure due to the complex assembly of the Rock Block Structures which make up the mountainside on which the carving is based.

The RBMS was installed in partnership with Respec Inc. and the Mount Rushmore Rope Access Team and is composed of one Micron Optics sm125 Optical Sensing Interrogator and 36 sensors. Twenty-four Micron Optic’s os3110 weld-able optical strain gauges and 12 Micron Optic’s os4310 non-metallic temperature sensors make up the complement of sensors. These sensors are attached directly to Mount Rushmore and provide the information required by the Park Service to maintain confidence in the integrity of the rock formation.

The National Park Service realized several benefits by using the Micron Optics solution over traditional electrical systems. One major benefit is the immunity to electromagnetic discharge or lightning strikes in the vicinity of the sensing stations. This enabled the park service to re-commission monitoring sites that had been abandoned due to repeated issues with lightning. Also important are the aesthetic improvements provided by the removal of hundreds of pounds of unsightly copper wire. Some of these copper cables were visible on the faces of the Presidents to spectators at the national monument.

Alan Turner, Applications Specialist at Micron Optics, has been involved in many projects similar to the Mount Rushmore installation. “Monitoring the critical rock blocks for significant movement will enable the National Park Service to preserve the monument for future generation’s enjoyment. The optical monitoring system that we have installed, in conjunction with the National Park Service and Respec Inc, on Mount Rushmore gives the Rangers the information they need to deal with this type of problem before it occurs. It has been my privilege to work with the National Park Service on this historic monument,” said Turner.

The case study associated with this project can be found here: http://micronoptics.com/civil_structures.php

About Micron Optics, Inc.
Micron Optics’ optical sensing and imaging products make impossible measurements possible, revealing new, critical information for Infrastructure, Energy, Transportation, Medical and Industrial sectors. Since 1990, Micron Optics has been expanding its core capabilities from tunable optical components and leading-edge instrumentation and software, to complete optical sensing systems. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Micron Optics is a privately held company. For more information, visit http://www.micronoptics.com.

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