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  • International Services


    1 Historical services of archival importance

    A number of national and international agencies have operated important data services which have now been discontinued in their original form, although the relevant functions have all been taken over by new organisations.

    The major agencies in this category are listed in the following subsections. In addition, a number of relevant single publications are listed in the bibliography at the end of this chapter.

    1.1 The BA Seismological Committee

    The Seismological Committee of the British Association for the Advancement of Science sponsored the installation of early Milne seismographs in many countries of the world, and published the bulletins of these stations in its 'Reports' from 1896 to 1899. These collections of bulletins continued in the form of the six-monthly 'Hide Circulars' which were prepared by John Milne for the data years 1899 until June 1909. During this time, the BA Annual Reports continued to list the epicentres and times at the origin of major earthquakes, using data from stations in addition to those equipped with Milne seismographs, but without listing individual readings.

    Following Milne's death, H. H. Turner reorganised the publication system, grouping the data from all available stations under earthquakes. These 'Monthly Bulletins' covered the data years from 1913 to 1917, being replaced for the data years from 1918 to 1963 by the 'International Seismological Summary'.

    1.2 The Bureau Central International de Seismologie (BCIS)

    The BCIS in Strasbourg was the central secretariat of the International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth's Interior until 1975, and published duplicated preliminary determinations of focal coordinates with special emphasis on events in Europe, North Africa and the mid-Atlantic Ridge. There was also world-wide coverage in the 'Bulletin Mensuel' for the data years 1920-1972, which included focal coordinates, magnitudes, macroseismic data, onset times and distances for reported observations. The regional services of the BCIS have now been taken over and extended by the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.

    1.3 The Bibliographic Service of the Dominion Observatory, Ottawa

    The Dominion Observatory published the 'Bibliography of Seismology' for the data years 1926 to 1964, at which stage the work was taken over by the International Seismological Centre.

    1.4 The International Seismological Summary (ISS)

    The ISS was set up by arrangement between the British Association and the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, taking over the function of the BA Reports from January 1918 and continuing to provide the most detailed summarised coverage of the world data flow until the end of the 1963 data year. At that stage the task was taken over by the International Seismological Centre, from which copies of the ISS are still available.

    1.5 The United States Coast and Geodetic Survey (USCGS)

    This was the agency which first put out the world-wide Preliminary Determination of Epicentre (PDE) and Earthquake Data Report (EDR) Services which are currently included in the programme of the National Earthquake Information Service of the US Geological Survey. It also started the Seismogram Microfilming Service which is continued by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    2 Current World Services

    The services operating at the present time are supported by various blends of national and international funds, and the criterion for inclusion is coverage of data relevant to a multi-national area of the earth's surface, and availability of output to scientists in all parts of the earth.

    2.1 Centro Regional de Sismologia para America del Sur (CERESIS)

    CERESIS, the Regional Seismological Centre for South America, is a cooperative venture of South American states originally sponsored by UNESCO. It collects data from seismological observatories throughout the region, determines focal parameters, distributes bulletins and undertakes special studies of major events.

    The contact address is:

    Ave Arenales 431, 08. 702
    Apartado 3747
    Lima, Peru

    2.2 The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC)

    The EMSC was formally established in Strasbourg from 1 January 1976, under the auspices of the European Seismological Commission (ESC). It operates under a governing Council funded by member organisations.

    Communications may be addressed as follows:

    European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre
    5 Rue Rene Descartes
    F 67084 Strasbourg CEDEX

    The objectives of the Centre are defined in the Statutes as follows:

    To initiate a system of rapid determination of European and Mediterranean epicentres (normally within a few days, in certain cases within a few hours), to assure its operation and to diffuse the results in answer to humanitarian and scientific needs.

    To gather all seismological data needed for the functioning of the Centre under a unified form and directly accessible for calculation in order to facilitate processing.

    To determine the epicentres of earthquakes occurring in the European- Mediterranean area from a maximum of data and to diffuse the results with a minimum of delay.

    To secure and increase the data exchange with other national, regional and world data centres.

    The area of coverage coincides with that of the European Seismological Commission, and has the following boundaries:

    To the West–by the Mid-Atlantic Rift, north of the 30th parallel;

    To the North–by the Arctic Ocean;

    To the East–by the Ural Mountains and the countries bordering the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea (inclusive);

    To the South–by the coastal countries of the Mediterranean Sea (inclusive).

    Input data are collected by airmail letters, telegrams and telex using NEIS format laid out in a manner designed to improve readability (see OUT 2.3).

    Basic output, comprising epicentral parameters for each event is distributed monthly by airmail. Special services available at extra cost include data sets on punched cards or magnetic tape, preliminary epicentral determinations by telex, and lists of epicentres by region.

    2.3 The Centre of The USSR Uniform System of Seismic Observations

    This Centre, which operates in the Institute of Physics of the Earth in Moscow under the auspices of the Geophysical Committee of the USSR Academy of Sciences, distributes ten-day bulletins containing preliminary epicentral determinations and magnitudes with whole-earth coverage and corresponding original data. P-wave arrivals and direction of first motion are taken from reports of contributing first-order stations inside and outside the USSR.

    The address is:

    Institute of Physics of the Earth B
    Gruzinskaya 10
    Moscow G242

    2.4 The International Seismological Centre (ISC)

    The ISC was established at the XIIIth General Assembly of the IASPEI to undertake the fine routine processing of data from seismograph stations in all parts of the world. The initial organisation was set up by means of research grants to the University of Edinburgh, but it came under international funding and control in 1970, and subsequently moved to Newbury.

    The present address is:

    The International Seismological Centre
    Newbury RG 13 I LX
    Berkshire, England

    2.4.1 The Bulletins of the ISC

    These are published monthly about 2 years in arrears, containing focal parameters, brief descriptions of macroseismic effects and particulars of individual station readings.

    2.4.2 The Regional Catalogue of Earthquakes

    Published bi-annually, following closely after the last Bulletin of each 1/2-year, containing epicentral data rearranged under seismic and geographic regions as defined by Flinn and Engdahl (1965). Each issue contains a detailed list of seismological stations.

    2.4.3 The Bibliography of Seismology

    This contains bibliographical details arranged by subject and author, supplemented by citations to important events arranged in reverse chronological order of occurrence.

    2.4.4 Seismicity maps

    The ISC has published a map of world earthquakes from January 1964 to June 1970, and of earthquakes in south-east Asia from January 1964 to December 1970.

    2.5 Large Aperture Seismic Arrays

    Large aperture arrays are in principle capable of measuring the arrival time, amplitude, azimuth and angle of emergence for incoming seismic waves, and these can be converted to provide estimates of distance and magnitude for foci assumed to be at the surface. For some years, the rapid processing systems at the major arrays provided much the fastest preliminary listings over a large part of the earth's surface, but increasing use of high speed communication links by individual stations of the World Network is eroding this difference.

    2.5.1 LASA Bulletins

    The output of the Large Aperture Seismic Array (LASA) in Montana is worked up in the form of daily station bulletins by the Lincoln Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. These bulletins are accumulated for a week at a time, and are then available for mailing to selected seismologists.

    The address is:

    MIT Lincoln Laboratory
    PO Box 73
    Lexington, Massachusetts 02173

    2.5.2 NORSAR Bulletins

    The Norwegian Seismic Array (NORSAR) was established in 1970, and has been distributing weekly bulletins by airmail for most of the subsequent period. Service was interrupted between I October 1976 and I October 1977 when the need for economy dictated a reduction in the number of elements. The reduction of scale has necessarily reduced the resolving power, but a policy of redeployment of the remaining instruments on the best available sites has enabled much of the signal-noise ratio to be retained.

    The address is:

    PO Box 51
    N-2007, Kjeller

    2.6 The National Earthquake Information Service (NEIS) Of The U.S. Geological Survey

    The NEIS is the principal American agency for the collection of seismic data from diverse sources and for working it up to obtain earthquake epicentres, magnitudes and intensity of shaking. Input arrangements include block transfers from the EMSC and other major agencies which substantially reduce the cost of transmission from stations.

    The address is:

    Mail Stop 967 Box 25046
    Denver Federal Center
    Denver, Colorado 80225

    2.6.1 Preliminary Determination of Epicentres and Earthquake Data Report (EDR) Services

    Normal distribution is on airmail cards a few weeks in arrear, with special telex services covering selected major events sometimes within a few hours of occurrence. The PDE cards, which list events as determinations become available are followed up by the 'PDE Monthly Listing' and by 'earthquakes in the United States'. The complete data for each event are listed in the 'EDR' and the 'Extended EDR' which are much larger publications, and are available a few months in arrear.

    2.6.2 Additional NEIS Services

    Publications include seismicity maps, 'Seismological Notes' in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America and directories of world-wide seismograph station abbreviations and coordinates. Block output arrangements include transmissions to the EMSC and ISC.

    2.7 The U.S. National Geophysical And Solar-Terrestrial Data Centre (NGSDC)

    The NGSDC is one of five major facilities of the Environmental Data and Information Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NGSDC seismological services include the preparation of local and regional seismic histories, answering public enquiries, publishing historical compilations and annual earthquake summaries and making available copies of seismograms, strong-motion earthquake records, computer listings, plots of earthquake locations etc. It also operates WDC A (see section INTSER 2.8).

    For a fuller account of services, see Glover (1977).

    The address is:

    National Geophysical and Solar-Terrestrial Data Centre (D62)
    Boulder, Colorado 80303

    2.7.1 Microfilm copies of seismograms

    Copies of analogue seismograms are available from the Worldwide Network of Standardised Seismograph Stations, the High-Gain Long-Period seismograph system, the Seismic Research Observatory System, the Canadian Seismograph Network and a selection of non-standard seismograph stations. Locations are listed by Glover (1977), and some of the instrumentation is described in Section INST 1.1 of this Manual, and references therein. Until December 1977, standard formats were 35-mm roll at 10.1 reduction, 70-mm film chip at 8:1 reduction, and paper copies of the original size. From January 1978, microfiche yielding 24 seismograms (four station-days) on each fiche will be the standard output.

    2.7.2 Digital tapes from the SRO System

    Long-period outputs from the SRO system are sampled every second and recorded continuously. Short-period outputs are sampled 20 times per second, but only edited events are recorded. These outputs are (in 1978) available from the Seismic Data Analysis Centre, Alexandria, Va., but are expected to become available from NGSDC in 1979 and later years.

    2.7.3 Digital recordings from the International Deployment of Accelerometers (IDA) programme

    The IDA is a worldwide network of digitally recording La Coste- Romberg gravimeters operated by the University of California in cooperation with institutions in many other countries. The records provide very long-period data relevant to earth tide, free oscillation and surface-wave studies with a dynamic range of about 120 dB. The basic ('TIDE') channel has constant gain to zero frequency, and additional channels (which vary to some extent between stations) are filtered to permit enhanced gain levels in selected frequency bands. The data available from NGSDC have been transcribed on to disc files, organised by station and date. For programme details see Agnew and others (1976).

    2.7.4 Other NGSDC services

    NGSDC maintains a computer file of hypocentral data from the PDE service and other sources, including historical catalogues It provides a monthly service of distributing punched cards of the monthly PDE and provides searches or complete copies of the file on demand as listings, plots, punched cards or magnetic tape.

    2.8 Services Originating In The Smithsonian Institution

    In January 1968, the Smithsonian Institution established the 'Centre for Short-lived Phenomena' to collect and disseminate information on short-lived natural events, without limitation to the geophysical field (i.e. biological, meteorological and other events were included). In October 1975, this service was re-assessed, and is now replaced by the two services which are described in the following subsections.

    2.8.1 The Scientific Event Alert Network (SEAN)

    This service is operated by Smithsonian Institution staff transferred to the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. It passes information rapidly by telephone or telex to scientists directly concerned with each class of event, and follows up at no cost to a broader group of interested scientists and correspondents in a monthly bulletin.

    The address is:

    Scientific Event Alert Network
    National Museum of Natural History
    Room 9
    Mail Stop 129
    Washington, D.C. 20560

    2.8.2 The Centre for Short-lived Phenomena (CSLP)

    This is now a private corporation which distributes cards to subscribers.

    The address is:

    The Centre for Short-lived Phenomena
    129 Mt Auburn Street
    Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

    2.9 The World Data Centres (WDCs)

    The international exchange of data through WDCs was first organised during the IGY and has continued since that period in accordance with the basic principles laid down by CSAGI. The WDCs collect data and publications from all geophysical disciplines including seismology. The responsibilities of each WDC are as follows.

    1. The collection and safekeeping of the fullest possible
    2. set of data in the discipline for which it is responsible
    3. The copying and reproduction of data
    4. The supply of other WDCs with data not received
    5. direct
    6. Preparation of catalogues of all data in its charge
    7. Catalogues of data received by the WDCs are issued at six-monthly intervals and sent to world geophysical centres and national organisations responsible for the communication with WDCs.

    A recent facility in seismology is the provision in the following categories:

    1. Complete sets of seismograms for all days
    2. Seismograms for earthquakes of magnitude 7.5 and above and others of special interest
    3. Stations agreeing to send seismograms to WDCs in response to special requests from scientists.

    WDC-A also published a series of data publications (the 'SE Reports') which cover various topics in seismology. Every SE Report contains a list of other SE Reports available at the time of publication.

    Official world action on category (i) above was deferred for further consideration, although the WWSSN procedure already meets this description. The other services have been active since 1974. Further particulars are obtainable from the ICSU (1973) 'Guide to International Data Exchange'.

    The addresses of WDCs dealing with seismology are as follows:

    World Data Centre A
    National Geophysical and Solar-Terrestrial Data Centre (D62)
    Boulder, Colorado 80303

    World Data Centre B
    Molodezhnaya 3
    Moscow B-296

    A third WDC (C) was formerly operated at the BCIS in Strasbourg, but the work of this Centre has fallen into abeyance since the termination of the IASPEI connection.

    Selected Bibliography

    B.1 Bibliographies

    AMBRASEYS, N. N. 1963. Earthquake engineering reference index. (London: British National Section of the International Association for Earthquake Engineering.)

    CNRS. Bulletin Signaletique Section 2 (Astronomy, Astrophysics and Geophysics). (Paris: Centre de Documentation du CNRS.) [Includes brief abstracts]

    DOMINION OBSERVATORY, OTTAWA. 1926-1964. Bibliography of Seismology. Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., Vol. 17, pp. 150-182, 218-248; Vol. 18, 16-23, 110-125, 214-235, 267-283; Vol. 19, 206-227; and then in Pub. Dom. Obs. Ottawa, Vols 10, 12, 13, 14, 22 and 30.

    GUTENBERG, G., and ANDREWS, F. Part I 1952, Part 2, 1956. Bibliography on Microseisms. (mimeographed; Pasadena: Seismological Laboratory.)

    HJORTENBERG, E. 1967. Bibliography of Microseisms. 1955-1964. Geod. Inst. Skr. Kbh. 3, Vol. 38, 113 pp. 1970. Bibliography of Microseisms. 1965-1969 (mimeographed). (Copenhagen: Danish Geodetic Institute.)

    PANZA, G. F. (Editor) 1977. European Seismological Commission, Working Group 'Statistical Methods' Bibliography. (Bari: Centro di Calculo of Bari University.) [A computer-produced bibliography, indexed under 11 Keywords.]

    USA. Geophysical Abstracts. (Washington: US Government Printing Office.)

    USSR. Referativny Zhurnal. [Reference Journal] Sections Seismology, Geophysics. (Moscow: Lenin Library.) [An extensive collection of abstracts from all fields of seismology, in Russian.]

    B.2 Seismicity Data Additional To Routine Services

    CRAMPIN, S., FYFE, C.J., BICKMORE, D. P., and LINTON, R. H. W. 1976. Atlas of seismic activity, 1909 to 1968. Seismo. Bull. Inst. Geol. Sci., No. 5. [Displays accumulated energy release by decades, with 2° segments of latitude and longitude.]

    GUTENBERG, B., and RICHTER, C. F. 1965. Seismicity of the earth and associated phenomena. 2nd ea., Princeton University Press, 1954, reprinted Hafner 1965. 310 pp. [The most detailed summary available for the period 1904-1941, with partial extensions to 1895 and 1952.]

    KARNIK, V. Part 1 1968, 364 pp. Part 2 1969, 218 pp + maps. Seismicity of the European Area. (Prague: Academia.) [The summaries of macroseismic and instrumental data on shocks from Europe and Mediterranean, 1801-1900 Io VII Io VI or M 4-1/4–4-3/4;, epicentre maps of the area, statistical treatment.]

    KONDORSKAYA, N. V. and SHEBALIN, N. B. (Editors) 1977. Novii Katalog silnich zemletryasenii na territorii SSSR drevneichich vremen do 1975. [New catalogue of great earthquakes in the territory of the USSR from ancient times until 1975.] (Moscow: Nauka.) 535 pp. [In Russian.]

    ROTHE ,J. P. 1969. The seismicity of the Barth, 1953-1965 (Paris: Unesco.) 336 pp. [Continued the work of Gutenberg and Richter, 1954.]

    B.3 Guides To Services And Systems

    AGNEW, D., BERGER, J., BULAND, R., FERRELL, W., and GILBERT, F. 1976. International deployment of accelerometers: a network for very long-period seismology. EOS Vol. 57, pp. 180-188.

    FLINN, E.A., and ENGDAHL, E.R. 1965. A proposed basis for geographical and seismic regionalization, Rev. Geophys., Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 123-149.

    GLOVE R. D. 1977. Catalog of seismogram archives (Boulder: NGSDC.) 51 pp.

    MORRIS, L., SMOOKLER, S. and GLOVER, D. 1977. Catalog of seismograms and strong-motion records. WDCA Report SE-6 (Boulder: World Data Center A for solid-earth geophysics) 72 pp.

    POWELL, T. and FRIES, D. 1966. Handbook: World Wide Standard Seismograph Network. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.)

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