Quarterly Updates
January - March 2005

Contents

Developments in Data Collection
Rapid Earthquake Information
Presenting the ISC to the NSF
Visitors
Joint Work and Seminar at the ISC
Contribution of ISC to the Monitoring of the East Mediterranean Region
IASPEI Location Workshop in Chile

Developments in Data Collection

In the second quarter of 2005 the ISC has essentially resumed its routine operations; data collection, data analysis, bulletin editing and publication. The completion of developing the ISCloc and its analysis tools was followed by the writing of the programs that generate the annual Bulletin and Catalogue files on the distributed CDs and the printed 4-monthly bulletin (see our previous newsletter). Our attention is now focussed on our development plans to update the automated data collection software. New programs that perform the event grouping and phase reading association have been written and tested and new software that generates the on-line comprehensive bulletin is currently undergoing trials. These continuing developments do not interfere with the routine data analysis and editing. However, along with assessing the new software, ISC seismologists frequently have new ideas and suggestions to improve the software to enhance the efficiency of their daily efforts.

We are also happy to note that during the reporting period we had, relatively speaking, fewer cases where incoming data files needed to be treated manually. Thank you for your efforts in ensuring that the data you send us is provided in the appropriate formats and that all your seismic stations are registered in the International Registry. We do encourage all our data contributors to use the ISF format as the standard data exchange format suggested by IASPEI.

Rapid Earthquake Information

The ISC provides another service to seismologists: Links to seismological centres that provide rapid information about earthquakes (typically of strong earthquakes). The links currently available are to BGS, EMSC, Harvard University, IRIS, NEIC, ORFEUS, RedPuma and PTWC. (www.isc.ac.uk/links/realtime.html). If your department wishes to add or be added to that list, please contact Avi Shapira (avi@isc.ac.uk).

Presenting the ISC to the NSF

In May the ISC Director, Avi Shapira, visited the Earth Sciences division of the US National Science Foundation (NSF). This important meeting was arranged by the former Director of ISC Ray Willemann, and focused on presenting to NSF managers the current operations and plans of the ISC. The NSF has supported the regular operation of the ISC for many years and has also provided funds for special projects. Avi also used this opportunity to consult with Ray on different aspects associated with preparing the next application for funding to the NSF.

Visitors

In April, Professor Stelios Mertikas from the Technical University of Crete, Greece visited the ISC. Stelios and Avi discussed the possibilities of preparing a joint proposal to the European Union in response to one of the future EU calls for proposals.

Dr. John Adams, from the Geological Survey of Canada, in Ottawa visited the ISC in June. Dr Adams is the national Canadian representative on the ISC Governing Council and he spent the day familiarising himself with the operations of ISC and its personnel.

Joint Work and Seminar at the ISC

At the end of April, the ISC's Senior Seismologist, Dmitry Storchak, attended the meeting of the European Geophysical Union in Vienna where he presented a poster on the ISC Bulletin 2002.

Whilst in Vienna he visited the International Data Centre, CTBTO. For several days Dmitry worked with our colleagues from Services, Review and Training Section on the annual comparison of the ISC and IDC Bulletins for the year 2002. The ISC receives IDC's Reviewed Event Bulletin (REB) and uses it as a major component to create the most comprehensive global catalogue of seismic events. Therefore the ISC Bulletin editors need to have a detailed knowledge of how the REB is produced and what guidelines are followed by IDC analysts. In return the ISC remains one of the best benchmarks for the IDC to assess the quality of their main product. During Dmitry's stay at the IDC, waveforms of difficult events were revisited where ISC and IDC interpretations were considerably different.

As a result of this work a joint seminar together with colleagues from the Waveform Monitoring Section was held. IDC staff were keenly interested in the comparison of IDC and ISC bulletins, and discussion showed the general recognition that such comparisons can be mutually beneficial in optimising the quality of event locations and other parameters. Discussion on the possible mislocation of events was particularly interesting as it has an important bearing on analysis procedures at the different agencies.

At the end of his stay Dmitry was able to spend a working day observing one of the IDC analysts actually processing waveforms to produce the REB which will later be utilised in the preparation of the ISC Bulletin. This invaluable experience will be of great benefit to the ISC's editing team.

Contribution of ISC to the Monitoring of the East Mediterranean Region

Avi Shapira was invited to Kadir Has University in Istanbul to give a key-note lecture at the international symposium of the geodynamics of the Eastern Mediterranean: Active tectonics of the Aegean. Avi used this platform to present the ISC, to discuss seismic monitoring capabilities in the Aegean Sea and elaborate on the importance of the international centres EMSC and ISC to facilitate regional collaboration and improve earthquake bulletin.

Both EMSC and ISC, actively collaborate on the RELEMR project (Reduce Earthquake Loss in the Extended Mediterranean Region). The EMSC is leading a project to produce a seismicity map of the region including validation of the earthquake locations in the EMSC and the ISC catalogues.

IASPEI Location Workshop in Chile

In the last half a year Johannes Schweitzer of NORSAR and Dmitry Storchak of ISC have been preparing for a special workshop during the IASPEI Assembly in Chile in October 2005 entitled "Modernising the ISC Location Procedures". As a result of numerous announcements and extensive personal communication a good number of prominent colleagues have come forward to suggest their ideas on how the ISC location procedures could be changed. Everyone was invited to use the list of reference events, kindly prepared by Bob Engdahl, to test their algorithms.

Submitted contributions range from investigating particular features of 1D location algorithms to the use of multiple event locations. There will be presentations to highlight recent developments at major global data centres as well as a discussion on the role of reference models.

The workshop is going to take a full working day. Each 20 minute presentation is planned to be followed by 10 minute discussion, which will allow a free and open exchange. Those active ISC Governing Council members, who are planning to participate the IASPEI Assembly as well as colleagues genuinely interested in the issue, are highly encouraged to participate in the meeting by offering their experiences, both positive and negative, views and suggestions on the above subject.