Mid-Year Report: February 16, 2000


  • Content of Seismic Bulletins
  • Regionalization
  • Personal Computers
  • Standard for Seismometer Testing
  • Parameter Formats
  • Ground Truth Events
  • Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice

To chairmen of CoP work groups:

As you might recall, it was decided to get half yearly status report from each work group. I have contacted you all and here is the result. As you will see in the following, WG's have had very variable progress, I hope this will be less so when we take the next round. I will expect some more news from you by the middle of September.

Jens Havskov, Chairman, Commission on Practice

Content of Seismic Bulletins

Chairman: Ray Willemann

No serious work has started, Ray has had trouble finding willing members. Here is his report:

At AGU I repeated the paper that I gave at IUGG on future of seismic bulletins, but as a poster in hope of interacting more. I still didn't get much interest. University seismologists are too busy with their current projects and next year's proposals to worry about what the ISC should do. Data centre people (Stuart Sipkin, NEIC; Rob Clayton, SCEC) are wrapped up in how to deal with a flood of data that is already building (TriNET) or just over the horizon (USArray).

A few seismologists support the idea of data centres routinely making supplementary time measurements based on waveform processing techniques such as autoregressive prediction or cross-correlation with synthetics. Another possible step foward would be other types of measurements, such as shear wave splitting using a widely algorithm, such a Paul Silver's.

Other seismologists insist that anybody good enough to do something worthwhile with these measurements could easily make the measurements themselves. I imagine that people would actually use a database of such measurements after it grew too large to be easily reproduced, but there might be resistance from parts of the community during the early stages. But I have made no progress in finding anybody with both ideas and will to work on a group like this. Influenced by conversations with Tom Jordan (who seems to be rare among seismologists in his willingness to think seriously about this but is unwilling to commit time), I'm considering setting out a premise:

In 10 years nobody will be using traditional arrival time picks anymore, and global earthquake centres will disappear if they don't change their mission. The ISC ought to be computing generalized seismological data functional (GSDF), which future seismologists will find more useful for both source and structure studies. By way of demonstration, the ISC should compute its own GSDFs and use them to compute higher-order moment tensors for selected earthquakes."

Even if many people disagree, maybe they would be motivated to put in some time and try to block a benighted concept. If not, maybe the working group should be killed.


Chairman John Young

It has not been possible to contact John.

Personal Computers

Chairman W. Lee

In 1988, IASPEI established a Working Group on Personal Computers to promote sharing of seismological software among scientists worldwide. Under the auspices of the Working Group, seismological software for IBM-compatible personal computers (PC's) is being published in collaboration with the Seismological Society of America (SSA). These volumes are edited by W. H. K. Lee (Editor) with J. C. Lahr and F. Scherbaum (Associate Editors), and an advisory board chaired by H. Kanamori. In addition, a Shareware Library edited by M. Garcia-Fernandez has been established to distribute software that is not reviewed.

The IASPEI software library volumes have been written, edited, reviewed, and typeset by volunteers. This is necessary because funds were not available from IASPEI or SSA to support software publication. The project was started with a UNESCO grant of $5,000. To minimize costs, the Editor did all clerical work, copy editing and typesetting for Volumes 1 through 4 and Volume 6, and SSA handles the business transactions. According to SSA's accounting, 3,190 copies (3039 regular + 151 student editions) of IASPEI Software Library volumes have been sold for approximately $512,000 as of December 31, 1999. Expenses so far is about $440,000, leaving a reserve of about $72,000. The cost per regular volume is about $130, and members of SSA can purchase a copy for $125, slightly below cost.

However, the expenses would have been higher if the Editor had not contributed over 10,000 hours of voluntary work during the past eleven and half years. The editing and typesetting of IASPEI volumes have been performed at the Editor's home at his spare time. Due to economical reality, we have not been able to get sufficient volunteers to help.

Software Library Volumes Published

So far, six volumes of the IASPEI Software Library have been published; in addition, Second Edition for Volume 1 and Volume 2, and Updated Edition for Volume 3 have also been released in early 1995.

Volume 1 contains programs for both realtime operation of a seismic network and off-line analysis of seismic events. At present, about 180 seismic systems based on Volume 1 are in operation worldwide. Second Edition of this volume contains revised software and several new programs. A low cost "Student Edition" has also been released for a sale price of $75 each in order to benefit students.

Volume 2 contains several programs for plotting seismic and other data on the monitor screen and generating a hard copy on either a printer or a plotter. A few application programs are also included to illustrate how to use the plotting package for seismological applications. Second Edition of this volume contains several new programs for plotting seismic waveform data.

Volume 3 contains two major programs: (1) SeisGram by A. Lomax for interactive analysis of digital seisgram, and SYN4 by R. McCaffrey, G. Abers, and P. Zwick for inversion of teleseismic body waves. This volume is a toolbox for seismological research, especially on broad-band digital seismic data, and has been updated.

Volume 4 contains computer programs for handling seismological literature, including a searchable database of all articles published in the Bulletin of Seismological Society of America (1911-1993) and some frequently cited articles for seismologists. The BSSA database had been made available to SSA for placing it on the Internet.

Volume 5 contains a programmable interactive toolbox for seismological analysis (PITSA) by F. Scherbaum and J. Johnson, and a short course on "First Principles of Digital Signal Processing for Seismologists" by F. Scherbaum. A low cost "Student Edition" had been released for a sale price of $75 each in order to benefit students.

Volume 6 was published in June, 1997; it contains software for analyzing earthquake statistics written mostly by Japanese and Russian contributors.

The work involved in getting a volume published is very time consuming for the Editor under a limited budget. The Editor has not been able to find a successor.

Originally, we plan to publish one volume (and its source code package) each year (if possible) so that all major topics in seismology will be covered in about 10 volumes. Because developing software is very expensive, development of IASPEI software have been supported entirely by research grants of the Editor and a few other volunteers. Revenues from the sale of the IASPEI software sale have been used just to pay for expenses involved in printing and distributing the IASPEI software.

Unfortunately, developing software becomes increasing more difficult because the Windows operating systems (now running on almost all the PCs) are complex. At the same time, we are not able to get any significant volunteers (other than the Editor himself) to help out. Therefore, the PC Working Group decided last summer to be phased out by 2003.

During the past year, we used some of our reserves to take care of the Y2K problems of our published software. The necessary information and the Y2K compliant software were made available on the SSA Web site. All registered users were informed by mail and no disaster occurred when Y2K came to past. In addition to the IASPEI software, the Editor is editing (with Paul Jennings and Hiroo Kanamori) an "International Handbook of Earthquake and Engineering Seismology" to celebrate the 100th anniversary of IASPEI in 2001. Although all three Handbook editors are volunteers, office expenses of the Editor (and a dozen or so Handbook coordinators) have increased.

The sale of the IASPEI software volumes has been dropping rapidly, but the existing fund will be adequate to complete a small printing of Volumes 1 and 2 with the Y2k updates and the preparation of the IASPEI Handbook. We expect that all the fund will be used up by the time the PC Working Group ceases to exist in 2003.

Standard for Seismometer Testing

Chairman: Bob Hutt

Essentially Bob has not had time to do anything yet, but he intends to finish the work before 2001.

Parameter Formats

Chairman: Jens Havskov

Most of the work since August has been done by Ray Willemann so I tried to make him the chairman, however without success !!

The original format proposed by the WG has been dropped and it has been proposed to use the IMS1.0 as the starting point for the new format. We have agreed that the new format should be called IASPEI Seismic Format (ISF). Since it is very hard to convince the IDC to make changes, it has been proposed to contain all parameters we need within comments. In that way, the only change needed in the IMS format is to allow comments anywhere rather than just after an origin line. Thus, parsers that conform with the IMS1.0 standard will parse ISF messages without a fatal error, although they may ignore data in ISF extensions of IMS1.0.

Ray has had contact with IDC staff several time, but so far no change has been officially made. Ray has also worked out a detailed description of the new format with extension and the WG has had one round of commenting on ISF. Based on this, Ray has now worked out a new revised ISF proposal and it is proposed to go on regardless of IDC approval since IDC in principle agree and it is very easy to skip the proposed comments.

Ground Truth Events

Chairman: Bob Engdahl

Work will be started soon, here are Bob's words:

Very soon we will be implementing a mechanism whereby the community can submit information about reference events directly to the IASPEI Home Page. When we bring that up I will send you a report.

Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice

Chairman: Peter Borrmann

Chapter 1: Introduction (will be written last)

Chapter 2: Seismic waves and Earth models (Responsible author: B. Engdahl): Status unknown. DEAD-LINE for first draft to P. Bormann set to March 31, 2000.

Chapter 3: Seismic Source Processes and Parameter (Main/coordinating author: P. Bormann). Status: First sub-chapters and worksheets, respectively, on Determination of fault-plane solutions and exercises on FPSs, determination of spectral source parameters and take-off angle calculations are already on the web (www.seismo.com). Drafts of the Introduction to parameters which characterize EQ size and mechanism, on magnitude determination and scaling relations have been submitted in November 1999 to the web page editor, E. Bergmann for inclusion in the web. Still missing are the following sub-chapters/worksheets:

  • Physical and mathematical models of source processes, moment tensor solutions and related exercise (Authors: G. Bock and T. Dahm, DEADLINE set to March 31, 2000);
  • Direct determination of seismic energy from broadband records (Author: G. Choy, DEADLINE set to March 31, 2000); The final compilation and editing of the whole chapter can then be completed by P. Bormann by June 2000)

Chapter 4: Seisic signals and noise (Main author: P. Bormann) Deadline for first draft: April 30, 2000)

Chapter 5: Seismic sensors and sensor calibration (Author: E. Wieland). A preliminary version has been reviewed. The final version will be available by March 31, 2000, already in html format for immediate linking to the manual web page.

Chapter 6: Seismic Recorder (Main author: G. Asch). A preliminary version has been reviewed. The main author is working on the revision. DEADLINE set for final draft March 31, 2000.

A related contribution by F. Scherbaum on Zero phase digital anti-alias fulters - problems and cures is already on the manual web site. The same applies to a related contribution on event triggers and trigger parameter selection by A. Trnkoczy. It can be found on the web page of chapter 9, subchapter Tuning of Seismic Networks. A close linking of Chapter 6 with Chapter 8 (seismic networks) and amendments to chapter 6 related to PC based recording systems for small networks (e.g. the Willy Lee system) have been proposed/promised by J. Havskov.

Chapter 7: Site selection and preparation of seismic stations (Main author: A. Trnkoczy).

The body of the chapter has been finished, first drafts are already on the web. Final proof reading was completed by the author in November 1999 but not yet implemented in the web page. Not yet available on the web are subchapters on:

  • Parameters which influence the performance of VVB stations (with case examples) by W. Hanka: A draft has been finished and is currently transformed into html for easy linking into the web page. DEADLINE March 31, 2000;
  • Broadband seismometer installations in boreholes by L. G. Holcomb. A reviewed and revised draft is available but still requires linking with the next:
  • Borehole accelerometer installations and vertical arrays for measurement of site response by R. L. Nigbor. Paper is not yet available. FINAL DEADLINE set to March 1, 2000.

Chapter 8: Seismic networks and communication (Authors: J. Havskov and L. Ottemoeller). No draft available yet. FINAL DEADLINE March 31, 2000. J. Havskov proposed close linking/merging with chapter 9, main author A. Trankoczy. Both chapter authors are in close contact on this issue.

Chapter 9: Network planning, procurement, installation, organization and tuning (Author: A. Trnkoczy). All drafts completed and available on the net. Final prove-reading done but not yet implemented on the web. This should not be done before chapter 8 and agreed proposal on merging chapters 8 and 9 is available.

Chapter 10: Seismic Arrays (Authors: J. Fyen and J. Schweitzer). First two draft versions were extensively reviewed. DEADLINE for final draft was agreed to be March 31, 2000.

Chapter 11: Data archival, exchange and seismic data formats (Authors: B. Dost and J. Zednik). A first draft version is available on the authors web page http://bib.telegrafenberg.de/publizieren/vertrieb/nmsop/ for consultation and comments. DEADLINE for a first completed and revised version which is linked to the Manual web page and gradually updated by the authors is set to March 31, 2000. A final version requires still negotiations/agreement between CoP, ISC and GSE/IMS and should be achieved for the printed manual version 2001 at the latest.

Chapter 12. Routine Processing and Seismogram Analysis (Authors: H. Aichele, K. Klinge, K. Stammler, S. Wendt, P. Bormann). A first draft on the interpretation and analysis of longitudinal core phases has been completed by P. Bormann and S. Wendt. Its inclusion into the web should await its linking with the systematic body of chapter. The DEADLINE for a first draft has been set to March 31, 2000. An upgraded version linked to the Manual web site should be available before the ESC2000 in September.

Chapter 13. Volcano Seismology (Authors: R. Schick, P. Hellweg and D. Seidl). A draft outline has been proposed earlier. DEADLINE for a first draft was agreed with D. Seidl to be available by March 31, 2000. Complementary to the manual chapter the authors provide links to a data bank on volcano seismological events at the Central Seismological Observatory Graefenberg in Erlangen.

Chapter 14: Intensity and Intensity Scales (Author: R. Musson). Several preliminary drafts had been available and have been extensively reviewed. The final version is now available on the authors web page (there still given as chapter 15) http://bib.telegrafenberg.de/publizieren/vertrieb/nmsop/. It provides also an internet link to the complete European Macroseismic Scale 1998. Eric Bergmann still has to link both directly to the Manual web page.