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Seismic noise data are presented from the new Global Seismographic Network station, RAR, on the Island of Rarotonga in the South Pacific. Data from the first new borehole site in the GSN are compared with a surface vault installation. Initial indications from the data show that borehole siting on a small island significantly reduces long-period (>20 s) horizontal seismic noise levels during the daytime, but little or no improvement is evident at periods shorter than 20 s or on the vertical component.

The goal of the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) GSN program is broad, uniform coverage of the Earth with a 128-station network. To achieve this goal and provide coverage in oceanic areas, many stations will be sited on islands. A major siting consideration for these new stations is whether to build a surface vault or drill a borehole. Neither option is inexpensive. The costs for drilling a cased hole and a borehole sensor are large, but the benefit of a borehole site is that seismic noise is reduced during certain periods when a surface installation may be subject to wind, weather, and thermal effects. This benefit translates into recording greater numbers of smaller earthquakes and higher signal-to-noise ratio.