Quarterly Updates
January - March 2005

Contents

New Staff Member for ISC
Modernizing Code Names
Improve Contact Between Seismologists
Special Funds from the Royal Society
Visits and Visitors
PDF Files Generated Directly from the Database
Annual Bulletin Summary
Meetings
FUNV - New Data Contributor from Venezuela

The year 2005 has started with new dreams and new plans and yet, with the same old problem - money. We are still in the process of summarizing ISC activities for 2004 and its budget but it is evident that the main financial difficulty we face is the strengthening of the British pound with respect to the US Dollar. A very careful and tight expenditure scheme throughout 2004 enabled us to finish the year with a balanced account.

New Staff Member for ISC

In January 2005, Mr. Matthew Evans (Matt) joined the ISC as part-time employee. Matt is a graduate student of Leeds University working with ISC on SKS splitting [see previous newsletters and the web page: http://www.isc.ac.uk/SKS]. Matt was recruited to help develop and maintain the ISC web site and assist in maintaining the ISC computer systems.

His immediate priorities are the new features described below.

Modernizing Code Names

At the beginning of 2005, the IASPEI bureau approved the establishment of a new working group on seismic code names, chaired by Avi Shapira. It was a joint initiative of EMSC, NEIC and ISC who require a more sophisticated coding scheme that will uniquely identify the station, the network/organization it belongs to, the entity that reports station data and more.

The working group has started discussions on those issues. More information about the working group and the topics they discuss is given on the web page www.isc.ac.uk/stationcode/. Anyone wishing to comment or make suggestions is welcome to do so by writing to one of the members of the working group.

Improve Contact Between Seismologists

In the aftermath of the great disaster of the Dec. 2004 Indonesian earthquake (and the tsunami that followed), the ISC took the initiative of preparing and maintaining a database that will list seismologists and seismological institutes who agree to serve as national contact points in a case of emergency associated with earthquakes. We have received, so far, names and addresses from more than 15 countries and we are waiting for more data to arrive. This initiative is coordinated with IASPEI, UNESCO and with the IUGG Commission on Geophysical Risk and Sustainability.

Special Funds from the Royal Society

Following a visit by Chris Browitt and Avi Shapira to the Royal Society in December 2004 and a reciprocated visit by Miss R. Cooper of the Royal Society to ISC in March 2005, we have prepared 5 small proposals and asked the Royal Society to fund them. All our proposals were accepted. These include:

  • Restructuring and consolidating the content of our web site.
  • Support for training a new editor.
  • The purchase of 3 PCs to replace old machines and testing the performance of ISC software under LINUX.
  • Purchase an A0 printer.
  • Distribute the ISC Bulletin and Catalogue CD-ROM to 30 seismological institutions in developing countries.

We thank Chris for his help.

Visits and Visitors

James Harris recently travelled to the Pacific Geoscience Centre on Vancouver Island, Canada, a favourite location for recruiting ISC seismologists, but on this occasion James was to study the facilities and methods used by PGC to monitor western Canada. He then moved on to the National Earthquake Information Center in Boulder, Colorado to meet Bruce Presgrave and staff. Both visits were very informative and gave James a thorough understanding of the way each of the centres operates.

During March 2005, ISC was honoured by the visit of Dr. Petr Firbas and Dr. Bernd Schurr from the CTBTO in Vienna. The visitors were acquainted with the analysis procedures of the ISC. Results from the CTBTO calibration program were presented and their applicability for global monitoring was discussed.


Petr Firbas, Bernd Schurr and Avi Shapira

PDF Files Generated Directly from the Database

With the demise of the old Reviser system and the new ISCLoc system coming into operation from data-month October 2002 - it was necessary to generate the PDF Bulletin and Catalogue files directly from the ISC Oracle database.

After some considerable effort by James Harris and Peter Dawson this has now been achieved and all future PDF files on the ISC CD's will now be generated using the new software. With this development, all of the ISC operations are now based upon post-Reviser software. In the short term, this has contributed towards a delay in getting the September-December 2002 Bulletin and the 2002 CD to production - for which the ISC apologises. However, the new software will speed up the future production of these ISC products.

This activity provided an opportunity to review the Bulletin format and the format has been streamlined slightly and more phase information has been provided.

Users of the PDF files and the printed ISC Bulletin are welcome to send their suggestions to improve the Bulletin by adding information or omitting data no longer used (note that all data will be still available and electronically retrievable from the ISC data base). Suggestions should be sent to avi@isc.ac.uk.

Annual Bulletin Summary

The 2002 ISC Bulletin summary is now available from the ISC web site. This summary is intended for presentation at the EGU and IASPEI Assemblies this year.

In their summary Dmitry Storchak and Maiclaire Bolton give an overview of the data published in the Bulletin, describe the major sources of data contributed to the ISC, including arrival times and amplitude readings. They discuss the magnitude threshold policy, which was applied to select events for manual review at the ISC and show the difference between the Collected, Reviewed and Comprehensive ISC bulletins. They evaluate the importance of re-analysis on a global scale from the distribution of events for which the ISC associates independently reported phase readings or hypocentres. A summary of "new" events discovered by the ISC from previously unassociated phase readings, and other events of special interest in the Bulletin is given. The overall mb completeness of the Bulletin in continental and oceanic areas, as well as reasons for the differences between mb values computed by the ISC and other major data centres are discussed.

Meetings

In January 2005, ISC helped to organise the 20th meeting of the RELEMR initiative where seismologists from around the Mediterranean discuss different seismological issues. The meeting took place in Ankara, Turkey and was hosted by the Middle East Technical University. One of the decisions made during that meeting was to compile a seismicity map of the Southern Mediterranean and the Middle East. The data source for that map would be the bulletin of the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) supplemented by ISC data. This project will provide a unique opportunity for the local seismological organisations to examine differences between local earthquake catalogues and the catalogues of EMSC and ISC and vice versa.

FUNV - New Data Contributor from Venezuela

The new agency code name FUNV is assigned to FUNVISIS: FUNdación Venezolana de Investigaciones SISmológicas (www.funvisis.gob.ve) that operates and maintains the seismic network of Venezuela.

The current Venezuelan Seismological Network is a recent development with the objective of increasing the detection capabilities of the widespread seismicity in the country. At present the array consists of 35 seismic broadband stations nation wide (see Map).


Map of the Venezuela Broadband Seismological Network

Red Triangles represent the stations already installed
Green triangles stations to be installed shortly
Blue triangles correspond to IRIS/CTBTO stations

The modernization of the National Seismological Network is a project with a great impact on seismological research in Venezuela, and is currently in progress. The installation of a total of 35 three-component seismic broadband stations with satellite links is about to be completed.

An ongoing project is the installation of Local Networks in different regions with a distribution of stations around the main fault systems close to urban areas in order to investigate statistical parameters, seismic hazard and the probable interaction between seismic activity and landslides. The Local Networks project involves installation of small arrays equipped with short-period sensors with radio links to central site in Funvisis.

The installation and operation of the broadband seismological stations, analysis and publication of the earthquake bulletins and catalogues are performed by a staff of 10 researchers and technicians from FUNVISIS, headed by Herbert Rendón. The installation of the modern systems, although not yet complete, shows an important improvement in the seismological data quality recorded by the Venezuelan National Seismological Network.