April - June 2004

Contents

ISC Activities
New-look Bulletin of the ISC
ISCloc in Operation
Return of the FDQ?
Bibliography of Seismology
Retrieving waveforms
Publications, presentations and reports
Visitors

ISC Activities

The main activities of the ISC throughout the second quarter of the year were concentrated on keeping up with the tight schedule of data collection, analysis and editing. The IUGG meeting in Sapporo in 2003, the personnel changes of seismologists and director and the process of implementing ISCloc has slowed down the editing process and brought us back to publishing the Bulletins with a delay of about 2 years. Hence, with considerable effort, and taking the advantage of temporarily having 3 seismologists to review and edit the bulletins, we are shortening the gap.

During this period we have prepared two new proposals for grants that were submitted to the US National Science Foundation. The first proposal titled "Improving the Monitoring of Global Seismicity" which focuses on improving the accuracy of hypocentre determinations by studying the capabilities and advantages of using new travel-time tables derived from 3D models of the Earth and also examining the advantages of using new location algorithms.

The other proposal, "Upgrading ISC Computational Capabilities", if accepted, will enable ISC to perform its tasks and accommodate the increase of inflow of data. There has been an impressive increase in the number of people and organisations retrieving information from our database through the Internet and they will also benefit.

The Executive Committee of the ISC held its annual meeting at the beginning of June 2004. The committee members, Dr. Chris Browitt (chairman), Prof. Adam Dziewonski, Dr. Gary Gibson,Prof. Oleg Starovoit, Dr. Jaroslava Plomerova and Prof. John Woodhouse met at the ISC in Thatcham, UK. The minutes of the committee's discussions will be distributed to members of the Governing Council when available. Some of the main topics on the agenda were the Director's report and accounts for 2003, proposed budgets for 2004, 2005 and 2006, status and expectations of Bulletin editing with the new ISCloc package, computer capacity of the ISC and the legal constitution of the ISC. The Executive Committee has approved a draft Memorandum Of Understanding with the Earth Science Division of UNESCO. This MOU awaits the approval of UNESCO. Members of staff also gave presentations describing their work to the committee.


Brian Baptie and Avi Shapira in discussion at BGS, Edinburgh

In the last week of June, ISC seismologists visited the Seismology unit of the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh. The visit included a presentation of the British seismic network and its analytical tools. During the discussions we identified issues of common interest such as assessment of the performance of a regional/local seismic network, seismic moments and Mw determinations of low magnitude earthquakes, graphical and GIS tools for bulletin editing and interaction with the public in the event of a felt earthquake in the UK.

ISC seismologists also attended seismological meetings and lectures at the Earth Sciences Department of Oxford University and the British Society for Earthquake and Civil Engineering Dynamics. ISC Director, Avi Shapira, was invited to the "Expert's Discussion on Civil and Scientific Applications of CTBT verification Technologies" held in Berlin during May. Dmitry Storchak represented the ISC at the annual meeting of the European Geophysical Union in Nice (France) during April.

New-look Bulletin of the ISC

Following the decision reached by the ISC Governing Council in 2003 the first of the new ISC printed Bulletins, Volume 39 for 2002 data, has been produced and distributed.

The new-look Bulletin encompasses four months data and contains printed details of the events reviewed and relocated by the ISC seismologists for the months January to April 2002. It does not however contain any printed phase data. An accompanying CD-ROM contains the full comprehensive Bulletin in FFB and ISF formats with all phase data included even for the smallest unreviewed events, as well as the full reviewed Bulletin in PDF format for each of the four months. For this edition of the Bulletin some 13,009 events were reviewed for which there were 38,785 hypocentres noted and 572,633 associated phases. The comprehensive Bulletin on CD lists 69,149 events, 96,948 hypocentres and 910,506 associated phases.

ISCloc in Operation

Richard Luckett and Dmitry Storchak are expediting the implementation of the new ISCloc package, recently developed by Richard Luckett. In order to start using ISCloc, a new bar-code based system for editors to interact directly with the ISC database had to be designed, coded and tested. A number of tools have been developed to assist editors in taking decisions on individual seismic events. This work is currently in its final stage. A production test involves the month of October 2002. The data-day of 1 October 2002 becomes an important ISC milestone, marking the final retirement of the Fortran-based REVISER system and its binary data products after 30 years of continuous updating and correcting.

The new system is a great deal more versatile and convenient and we expect a reduction in the bulletin reviewing time, which has always been a bottleneck of the ISC bulletin production.

Return of the FDQ?

Paper products can now easily be prepared directly from the ISC database. This has been achieved by the development of a program that produces earthquake catalogues in PDF format and avoids having to read binary files prepared as part of the monthly processing. The first use of this program is likely to be the reinstatement of the catalogue of Felt and Damaging Earthquakes (FDQ). There is no longer the manpower to review all macroseismic comments, however, so if the catalogue is produced again it will essentially reproduce such comments verbatim, as contributed to the ISC. This will mean, for example, that a few comments will not be in English, but in Spanish or French.

Bibliography of Seismology

ISC has long had a Bibliography capability on the ISC website http://www.isc.ac.uk/search/bibliography/ which covers the period 1964 to 1995. We know that this has been very useful to seismologists across the world - enabling keyword searches for selected time periods. In fact, the second most popular queries from the ISC web site are those for the Bibliography. Based on feedback from seismologists, ISC would now like to extend the Bibliography capability by adding more up-to-date references to papers from 1996 to the present day. The goal is to make the ISC Bibliography a living, relevant tool for seismological research. We welcome reference lists of published papers from all interested parties. A Bibliography file format has been defined which is an extension of the ISF format. For efficiency, the files should be e-mailed to ISC where they will be automatically recognised and input into the Bibliography database. Please contact Peter Dawson - peter@isc.ac.uk for further details.

Retrieving waveforms
A new capability at ISC

As a by-product of the recent automated shear-wave splitting project, the ISC has obtained the ability to automatically request and retrieve waveform data from a variety of external data sources. E-mail responses are archived, and processed each night to identify new data, and if necessary FTP over large data files when bandwidth issues are least likely to affect ISC staff. By integrating with other software, such as rdseed or codeco we are able to convert these waveforms to a common format, currently SAC, and inform the user that these waveforms are ready. Data are normally ready the next working day, although workload at the data centre is the most important factor, so this is not always possible.

Any user or process need only make an entry into a database table, and background processes will identify these new entries, consult an inventory of available waveforms and if the data is available, identify the data centre and compose an e-mail request in the appropriate format (NetDC, BreqFAST, AutoDRM,etc).

Publications, presentations and reports

Storchak, D. A., "Summary of the ISC Bulletin of events of 2001" Presented in the annual meeting of the European Geophysical Union, Nice, France. May 2004.

Ozel N. M. et al., 2004. "Strong Ground Motion during the largest aftershock (Mw=5.8) of the 1999 Izmit earthquake, Turkey." Tectonophysics (in print).

Zaslavsky, Y., A. Shapira, M. Gorstein and M. Kalmanowich,. "Estimation of site effects in the Israel seacoast area by ambient noise records for microzonation." In proceedings of the 5th International Conf. On Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering, N.Y., April 2004. Paper No. 12A-4.

Shapira, A., "The International Seismological Centre: An Update". Presented to the Society for Earthquake and Civil Engineering Dynamics, London. April 2004.

Shapira, A., "Seismic hazard evaluations in low seismicity areas." Presented to the Society for Earthquake and Civil Engineering Dynamics, London, April 2004.

R. Luckett, A. Shapira, D. Storchak, "CTBT contributions to the monitoring of global seismicity", Presented by A. Shapira at the "Expert's Discussion on Civil and Scientific Applications of CTBT Verification Technologies", Berlin, May 2004.

V. Pinsky, Y. Gitterman, D. Kadash. U. Peled, A Vered-Malitzky, A. Hofstetter and A. Shapira. "Location of surface explosions using acoustic observations" , Presented at the "Expert's Discussion on Civil and Scientific Applications of CTBT verification Technologies", Berlin, May 2004.

Visitors

The ISC hosted the members of its Executive Committee during their annual meeting and later in June 2004 we were visited by Dr. Margaret Wiggins-Grandison, Head of the Earthquake Unit at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.


Margaret Wiggins-Grandison visits ISC

During her visit, Dr. Wiggins-Grandison joined the ISC seismologists in their visit to the BGS where she gave a talk about the seismotectonics of Jamaica and its vicinity and the seismic network of Jamaica.