ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The federal agency that supports basic science research is taking a close look at what's under the ground in Alaska.

Technicians this summer will complete the installation of 260 seismometers in Alaska as part of the National Science Foundation's EarthScope project.

EarthScope aims to advance the field of plate tectonics with an examination of the structures that make up the Earth's upper crust under North America.

Seismometers record seismic waves and give geologists a picture of the upper 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the Earth.

An array of portable seismometers was first installed in western states and then moved east over the last decade.

Researchers say the research could help explain how continents formed as well as indicate where dangerous earthquakes may occur in the future.

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