Schools extend our knowledge about local earthquakes

Schools & Quakes

Earthquake seismology brought to schools. A team of students, teachers and scientist explore together the seismicity of the Mürz Valley in Eastern Austria.

I participate in the Sparkling Science project Schools & Quakes guided by the Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation at the Vienna University of Technology. I am responsible for the direction of 2 work packages within the project. These work packages cover the implementation of the data-flow of seismic data and the enhancement of the processing software pSysmon.

Seismometers installed at schools as well as related tutorials and educational projects represent valuable contributions to seismological research in many countries. Schools & Quakes pursues goals along the same line, with emphasis on widespread integration. The Mürz Valley and the southern Vienna Basin were selected as project areas because of their relatively high earthquake hazard and risk. The precise location of earthquake hypocenters, characterization of the focal mechanisms and correlation of hypocenters with active geological structures are the main scientific goals in this project. Furthermore, the long term build-up of tectonic stress and how it relates to actual and expected seismic activity is also an issue we wish to address.

The scientific efforts of Schools & Quakes builds on the work of the seismological service of the ZAMG, and benefits from the findings on the lithospheric structure of the Eastern Alps gained during former projects sponsored by the ÖAW. The existing seismic network in the area has been expanded and made denser by new Schools & Quakes seismic stations. Experience gained so far from the network densification demonstrates not only improved location accuracy but also a significantly better description of the focal mechanisms. New algorithms for the determination of focal mechanisms will be tested and developed further. The reprocessing of GNSS (GPS) coordinates series started in 2008 and will be continued to assess the long term stress build-up. Students maintain the seismic stations installed at or near their schools and provide valuable scientific contributions via their motivated and unbiased access to the interactive and computer-aided analysis of the seismic data. Through this project they will gain a sound understanding of earthquake phenomena and their impact on the society.

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Duration
The project started October, 2014 and ended October, 2017
Responsibilities

I have the following responsibilities within the project:

  • Direction of 2 workpackages
  • Consulting
Aims

The aims to be achieved by Mertl Research are:

  1. Conceptual design of the near real-time seismic data flow from the seismic stations of the Schools & Quakes network to the school observatories.
  2. Installation und Konfiguration der Software für die annähernd Echtzeit Datenübertragung und -auswertung.
  3. Installation and configuration of the Software needed for the near real-time data transmission and data processing.
  4. Enhancement and customization of the software pSysmon to provide a tool for seismic data processing at the school observatories.
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