January - March 1998

Anthony Hughes Retires

After 20 years as Director and a total of 33 years of service at the ISC, Anthony Hughes retired at the end of 1997. During his tenure, Anthony was involved in the transfer of the ISC from Edinburgh to Newbury, purchase of property to permanently house the ISC in Thatcham, installation of the ISC's first computer, and growth of the ISC Bulletin from less than 20,000 earthquakes per year to nearly 60,000. Today, the 30-year ISC Bulletin contains more than 700,000 events and 20,000,000 phase records, which are used for seismic hazard analysis, evaluation of seismotectonic models, and studies on the seismic velocity structure of the Earth.

Ray Willemann succeeded Anthony, and plans to look to use the Internet to expand ISC services, including e-mail and Web-based access to the Bulletin. Ray comes to the ISC after 6 years at the U.S. Center for Monitoring Research, which served as the International Data Center for GSETT-3. He hopes to use his experience in development and operations at CMR to guide the ISC towards use of interactive computer graphics in editing the Bulletin, expanded services for users of ISC data, and improved automatic processing.

Sun Work Stations Installed

Two Ultrasparc 1 desktop computers from Sun Microsystems were installed at the ISC this January. The workstations were purchased as the first step in the ISCís computer modernisation programme, which is partially funded by a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation. Other equipment purchased to work with the Unix workstations include two 9 Gbyte disks, a DLT drive for backups, and a DAT drive for data exchange. The Sparc 5 on loan from Oxford University and its DAT drive have been returned.

To begin integrating the workstations into operations, Deputy Director David McGregor, Professor John Woodhouse of Oxford University, and Ray Willemann are porting ISC automatic processing programs from VMS to Solaris.

ISC Web Site Begins Operation

Using the Sun Web Server application included with Solaris 2.6 on its new work stations, the ISC began to operate its own web site in March. The web site includes information about ISC products and explains services offered by the ISC. Up to date information is provided on the status of data processing at the ISC, as well as the status of printing and distribution of the most recent issues of ISC publications. The home institutions of visitors to the web site already include universities and funding agencies in the UK, universities across the US, and the University of Tokyo.

New Data Sources

ISC Seismologist Dmitry Storchak helped to arrange for the Russian Academy of Sciences to begin transmitting phase readings from 5 stations in Kamchatka. The set of stations in the area reporting to the ISC was unusually sparse compared with other continental regions in the northern hemisphere. Without these data, some events in the region had large location uncertainties or ambiguously associated teleseismic arrivals.

Lazo Pekevski of St. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje visited the ISC in February. During his visit, arrangements were made for Skopje to begin sending data to the ISC. As with other agencies that report to NEIC, this arrangement will allow the ISC to receive phase readings and epicentres refined by Skopje after the NEIC period for accepting new data has passed.

ISC Hosts CSEM Bureau

The CSEM Bureau met at the ISC in February. The meeting included Chris Browitt, Yves Cansi, Bruno Feignier and Florence Riviere. Following the Bureau meeting, the ISC staff joined the CSEM representatives in a wide ranging discussion of interaction between the groups. Amongst the most promising topics, was the possibility of an exchange of software developed by CSEM for the EUROBULL project and by the ISC for interactive bulletin editing.

At the meeting, CSEM approved a decision to make the ISC a CSEM member by right. The ISC Executive Committee may discuss possibilities for a reciprocal recognition of CSEM and NEIC at its meeting this summer.

Administrative PC Replaced

The desk of Administration and Finance Officer Maureen Aspinwall is crowded by a typewriter, a VAX terminal, and a PC. A step to reducing this clutter was taken recently when her PC was replaced with a Pentium II machine running Windows NT. With modern applications for business, accounting, and Internet access, Maureen should soon be able to get rid of some of the other equipment on her desk, and improve her efficiency. Windows NT integrates smoothly into the ISCís Ethernet LAN, and it supplements the computer modernisation effort by offering new tools to use in analysis of the Bulletin. The NT machine will allow the ISC to evaluate alternative platforms for commercial software such as database management systems, web servers, and internet proxies.

Operations Continue

October 1995 data editing was completed, and the September/October 1995 issue of the Bulletin was printed and distributed. November and December 1995 data were processed and edited. Masters for the November/December Bulletin and for the July - December Catalogue were sent to press. Processing and editing of January 1996 data was begun.

October 1995 was the busiest month ever for the ISC, with over 10,000 epicentres reported, and nearly that many published. The September/October Bulletin contained a total of 14,128 epicentres. November 1995 was notable for a sequence in the Gulf of Aqaba, where conflicting data from different national networks required special attention. December 1995 included an extraordinary aftershock sequence in the Kurile Islands, where the large number of teleseismically recorded events produced overlapping arrivals at many stations, creating special difficulties.

Preparation of data for January required extra effort due to changes in format by several agencies, including moment tensors reported by NEIC. Beginning with January 1996, editing procedures were modified to insure that all EIDC epicentres and phase data are included in the ISC Bulletin. Some 1995 EIDC epicentres and phases were excluded from the Bulletin either because additional data available to the ISC indicated a large mislocation, or because the ISC could not find sufficient phase arrivals to confirm an event.