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Past Projects

This page provides details of selected past projects managed by or prominently featuring staff from the Swiss Seismological Service (SED). The list is not exhaustive; it merely covers selected key or large-scale projects. The projects are grouped together according to the main focus of their research.

Seismic Hazard Assessment

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Following the seismic microzonation of Basel, the project «Basel Erdbebenvorsorge» was funded by the canton Basel-Stadt. It aimed first at improving the seismic network in Basel and collecting data for the next generation of microzonation studies, and second at proposing earthquake scenarios and risk computations for all cantonal school buildings. This study sets the framework for studies including the whole city, supporting earthquake mitigation and crisis management.

In a first phase, 6 new modern strong-motion stations have been installed, complementing the installations from the SSMNet renewal project. The sites have been characterized through geophysical measurements. In addition, 5 temporary stations have been installed for the period of the project. In a second phase, a new amplification map was developed accounting for all information collected for the completed microzonation study and more recent data. The third phase was the development of a risk framework using the Openquake software. The company Resonance Ingénieurs-Conseils performed the assessment of the capacity curves of the school buildings, that were implemented through fragility curves. A particular focus of the project was put on the uncertainties of the risk-calculation process. Scenarios for typical events of the area were assessed, based on the historical seismicity and the de-aggregation of the regional seismic hazard. The effect of retrofitting of the school-building stock through the ongoing HARMOS project was quantified with a cost-benefit analysis.

Project Leader at SED

Donat Fäh

SED Project Members

Clotaire Michel

Involved Institutions

Kantonales Laboratorium Basel-Stadt, Résonance Ingénieurs Conseil, Hochbauamt Kanton Basel-Stadt

Funding Source

Kanton Basel-Stadt

Duration

2013-2016

Key Words

Seismic risk, seismic vulnerability, microzonation, school buildings, site effects, Openquake, strong motion

Research Field

Earthquake Hazard & Risk, Engineering Seismology

Publications

Michel, C., Hannewald, P., Lestuzzi, P., Fäh, D., & Husen, S. (2017). Probabilistic mechanics-based loss scenarios for school buildings in Basel (Switzerland). Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering 15(4), 1471–1496. doi: 10.1007/s10518-016-0025-2

Michel, C., Fäh, D., Edwards, B., & Cauzzi, C. (2017). Site amplification at the city scale in Basel (Switzerland) from geophysical site characterization and spectral modelling of recorded earthquakes. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C 98, 27-40. doi: 10.1016/j.pce.2016.07.005

Michel C., Fäh D. (2016). Basel earthquake risk mitigation - Computation of scenarios for school buildings. Technical Report. Zürich, Switzerland: ETH-Zürich. doi: 10.3929/ethz-a-010646514

Michel C., Fäh D., Edwards B., Cauzzi C. (2016, in press). Site amplification at the city scale in Basel (Switzerland) from geophysical site characterization and spectral modelling of recorded earthquakes. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth Special Issue “Advances in seismic site response: standard-practice and innovative methods”. doi: 10.1016/j.pce.2016.07.005

Michel, C., Fäh, D., Lestuzzi, P., Hannewald, P. and Husen, S. (2015). Detaillierte Erdbeben-Schaden-szenarien für die Schulgebäude im Kanton Basel-Stadt. Dokumentation SIA D 0255 Erdbeben und bestehenden Bauten, 14. D-A-CH-Tagung, Zürich. 

Michel C., Hannewald P., Lestuzzi P., Fäh D., Husen S.  (2016, in press). Probabilistic mechanics-based loss scenarios for school buildings in Basel (Switzerland). Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering. doi: 10.1007/s10518-016-0025-2

Résonance (2016). Basel earthquake risk mitigation – Capacity curves of school buildings. Technical Report. Zürich, Switzerland: ETH-Zürich. doi: 10.3929/ethz-a-010647300

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The objective of this project is the microzonation of the Bucharest city (Romania).

For a better understanding of the geological structure under Bucharest, non-invasive methods are used, as: wavelet-polarization analysis at each station, H/V for ambient vibrations and earthquakes, and the three-components array analysis of ambient vibration recordings from URS experiment, in order to retrieve the characteristics of surface waves. Surface wave dispersion curves, their ellipticity and the data from boreholes (depth < 100m) are jointly inverted to estimate the velocity structure under the city.

The final 3D structure will be used for the numerical simulation of the seismic waves propagation from the Vrancea intermediate-depth source to the city in order to investigate the seismic hazard in the city.

Data used in this project are from: National Institute of Earth Physics, CRC461-Proiect URS – URban Seismology 2003-2004, BIGSEES ”BrIdging the Gap between Seismology and Earthquake Engineering: from the Seismicity of Romania towards a refined implementation of seismic action EN1998-1 in earthquake resistant design of buildings”

Project Leader at SED

Donat Fäh

SED Project Members

Elena Manea, Clotaire Michel, Manuel Hobiger, Valerio Poggi

Involved Institutions

National Institute for Earth Physics (NIEP), Bucharest, Romania

Doctoral School of Physics, Faculty of Physics, University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania

Funding Source

Sciex-NMSch Programme, No. 13.123

Duration

2014-2015

Key Words

Ambient Vibration, Array Processing, 3D Geophysical Model, Seismic Hazard

Research Field

Earthquake Hazard & Risk, Engineering Seismology

Publications

Manea, E.F, Michel C., Poggi V., Fäh D., Radulian M., Bălan S.F. (2016). Improvement of the shear wave velocity structure beneath Bucharest (Romania) using ambient vibrations. Geophysical Journal International, under review. 

Manea, E.F., Michel C., Hobiger M., Fäh D., Cioflan C.O., Radulian M. (2016). Analysis of the seismic wave field in the Moesian Platform (Bucharest area) for hazard assessment purposes. In preparation. 

Presentations

Manea E. F., Hobiger M., Michel C., Fäh D., Cioflan C. O. (2016). Analysis of the seismic wavefield in the Moesian Platform (Bucharest area). Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 18, EGU 2016, 930.  Access for SSA members only 

Manea E. F., Michel C., Fäh D., Poggi V., Edwards B., Cioflan C. O., Radulian M., Balan S. F. (2015). Improvement of the Shear Wave Velocity Structure Beneath Bucharest (Romania) Using Non-Invasive Techniques. Seismological Society of America (SSA 2015) Annual Meeting, Pasadena, California, 21-23 April 2015.  Access for SSA members only 

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NERA was a project in the Seventh Framework Program (FP7) of the European Commission (EC) that integrated key research infrastructures in Europe to monitor earthquakes and assess their hazard and risk to improve and make a long-term impact on the assessment and the reduction of the vulnerability of constructions and citizens to earthquakes.

Our group was involved in the Work package JRA1, Waveform modelling and site coefficients for basin response and topography, and Workpackage NA5, Networking near-fault observatories.

The key objective of JRA1 was to establish some scientifically solid and practically acceptable propositions to incorporate basin and surface topography effects in seismic design (building codes, microzonation studies, critical facilities). We contributed with a systematic study of the topographic site effects with emphasis on reasonable characterization of the both topographic site structures and observed effects on ground motion. We gathered available earthquake and ambient vibration recordings from sites with pronounced topography (Europe, Japan) and performed joint analysis with digital elevation models.

The results and final recommendations have been published in a report. These conclusions contribute to the ongoing (light) revision of EC8.

The objective of NA5 was to collaborate in sharing of technological and scientific experience and know-how between the near-fault observatories. We shared our experience with the installation (including data gathering and data archiving) of various instruments in the Valais region. This workpackage represented an infrastructural support for workpackage 2 of the project REAKT.

Project Leader at SED

Donat Fäh

SED Project Members

Jan Burjanek

Involved Institutions

SED, CNRS(ISTerre), INGV, AUTH, GFZ, and others

Funding Source

EC

Duration

2010-2014

Key Words

Topography, site-effects, near-fault observatories

Research Field

Publications

Burjanek, J., Edwards, B. and Fäh, D.  (2013). Empirical evidence of topographic site effects: a systematic approach. Geophys. J. Int. 197, 608-619. doi: 10.1093/gji/ggu014

Reports / Deliverables

In the 1990s the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (HSK) identified the need to update the seismic hazard assessments for Swiss NPPs and in 1998 asked the Swiss NPP operators to draw up a new hazard study that would comply with SSHAC level 4 (SSHAC, 1997) requirements. Nagra (the National Co-operative for the Disposal of Radioactive Wastes) was commissioned to plan, organize and perform such a study – the PEGASOS project (Probabilistische Erdbeben-Gefährdungs-Analyse für KKW-Standorte in der Schweiz). The project involved more than 20 experts from seven European countries, with support provided by 25 Swiss and foreign specialists and consultants. The project was completed in the summer of 2004.

In 2008 the "PEGASOS Refinement Project" was launched in order to address potential refinements. As part of this project the SED was commissioned to provide input and to develop specific products:

  • A revision and update of the Earthquake Catalogue of Switzerland (ECOS-09)
  • Earthquake source studies related recent earthquakes
  • Determination of site information for seismic stations in Switzerland
  • New Swiss stochastic ground motion prediction equation

Finite-fault near-source broadband ground-motion simulation

Project Leader at SED

Donat Fäh

Involved Institutions

SED

Funding Source
Duration

2008-2013

Key Words

Earthquake catalogues, earthquake sources, ground motion prediction equations, numerical ground-motion simulations

Research Field

Seismic hazard assessment

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COGEAR was an interdisciplinary natural hazards project investigating the hazard chain induced by earthquakes. It addressed tectonic processes and the related variability of seismicity in space and time, earthquake forecasting and short-term precursors, and strong ground motion as a result of source and complex path effects.

We studied non-linear wave propagation phenomena, liquefaction and triggering of landslides in soils and rocks, as well as earthquake-induced snow avalanches. The Valais, and in particular parts of the Rhone, Visper and Matter valleys have been selected as study areas. Tasks included detailed field investigations, development and application of numerical modelling techniques, assessment of the susceptibility to seismically induced effects and installation of different monitoring systems to test and validate our models. These systems are for long-term operation and include a continuous GPS and seismic networks, a test installation for observing earthquake precursors, and a system to study site-effects and non-linear phenomena in two test areas (Visp, St. Niklaus-Randa). Risk-related aspects of impacts on buildings and lifelines were also considered.

COGEAR was supported by the Competence Center for Environment and Sustainability (CCES) of ETH Zurich. Information is available from the project Website

Project Leader at SED

Donat Fäh

Involved Institutions

ETHZ: SED, EngGeo, GGL, IKA, IGT, SEG, AUG, PRS

EPFL: LMS, IMAC

WSL: SLF

Funding Source

Competence Center for Environment and Sustainability (CCES) of ETH Zurich

Duration

2008-2012

Key Words

seismic ground motion, non-linear phenomena, landslides, earthquake precursors, earthquake forecasting, Switzerland.

Research Field

Link To Project Website

Project Website

Publications

Fäh, D., Moore, J., Burjanek, J., Iosifescu, I., Dalguer, L., Dupray, F., Michel, C., Woessner, J., Villiger, A., Laue, J., Marschall, I., Gischig, V., Loew, S., Marin, A., Gassner, G., Alvarez, S., Balderer, W., Kästli, P., Giardini, D., Iosifescu, C., Hurni, L., Lestuzzi, P., Karbassi, A., Baumann, C., Geiger, A., Ferrari, A., Laloui, L., Clinton, J. and Deichmann, N.  (2012). Coupled seismogenic geohazards in alpine regions. Bolletino di Geofisica Teorica ed Applicata 53(4), 485-508. 

Reports / Deliverables
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For the city of Basel, a qualitative microzonation was performed in 1997. The zonation was mainly based mainly on the properties of the quaternary sediments. This triggered a study that provided a quantitative assessment of ground motion amplification in order to determine which levels of amplifications have to be taken into account a site-specific hazard assessment in the Basel area. It is the result of two large projects, the ETH project “Earthquake scenarios for Switzerland” (1997-2002) and the INTERREG project “Seismic Microzonation in the upper Rhine Graben area” (2003-2006) (Fäh end Huggenberger, 2006). Earthquakes in the Basel region triggered the strong motion network in Basel and provided a data set for comparison. Spectral ratios from recordings confirm the results of the microzonation study. Finally uniform hazard spectra were derived for each zone by combining the hazard on rock with the amplification functions. The microzonation is published on the Internet:

Basel Landschaft: http://geoview.bl.ch

Basel Stadt: www.geo.bs.ch/erdbebenmikrozonierung

Project Leader at SED

Donat Fäh

SED Project Members

Hans Havenith, Ivo Oprsal, Brian Steiner, Sybille Steimen, Philipp Kästli, Gabriela Stamm, Johannes Ripperger, Jan Burjanek

Involved Institutions

AUG Uni Basel, Kantone BS und BL, Wenk Engineering

Funding Source

Interreg, Kantone Basel Stadt & Basel Landschaft

Duration

2003-2009

Key Words

Microzonation, Basel

Research Field

Earthquake Hazard & Risk, Engineering Seismology, Microzonation

Publications

Fäh, D. and P. Huggenberger (2006). INTERREG III, Erdbebenmikrozonierung am südlichen Oberrhein. Zusammenfassung für das Projektgebiet Gebiet in der Schweiz. CD and Report (in german; available from the authors). 

Fäh, D. and T. Wenk (2009). Mikrozonierung für die Kantone Basel Stadt und Basel Landschaft: Optimierung der Form der Antwortspektren und der Anzahl der Mikrozonen. In: Schweizerischer Erdbebendienst ETH Zürich: Abschlussbericht: Teilbericht B Projekt "Umsetzung der Mikrozonierung in den Kantonen Basel Stadt und Basel Landschaft". 

Fäh, D., Steimen, S., Oprsal, I., Ripperger, J., Wössner, J., Schatzmann, R., Kästli, P., Spottke, I. and P. Huggenberger (2006). The earthquake of 250 A.D. in Augusta Raurica, a real event with a 3D site-effect?. Journal of Seismology 10, 459-477. 

Fäh, D., Gisler, M., Jaggi, B., Kästli, P., Lutz, T., Masciadri, V., Matt, C. Mayer-Rosa, D., Rippmann, D., Schwarz-Zanetti, G., Tauber, J., Wenk, T. (2009). The 1356 Basel earthquake: an interdisciplinary revision. Geophys. J. Int. 178, 351-374. 

Fäh, D. Ripperger, J., Stamm, G., Kästli, P., and J. Burjanek (2009). Mikrozonierung für die Kantone Basel Stadt und Basel Landschaft: Validierung und Umsetzung der Mikrozonierung (2006-2008). In: Schweizerischer Erdbebendienst ETH Zürich: Abschlussbericht: Teilbericht A Projekt "Umsetzung der Mikrozonierung in den Kantonen Basel Stadt und Basel Landschaft". 

Havenith, H.-B., Fäh, D., Polom, U. and A. Roulle (2007). S-wave velocity measurements applied to the seismic microzonation of Basel, Upper Rhine Graben. Geophys. J. Int. 170, 346-358. 

Kind, F. (2002). Development of microzonation methods: application to Basel, Switzerland. Ph.D. thesis, ETH Zürich, Available in electronic form from www.ethbib.ethz.ch. 

Kind, F., Fäh, d., & Giardini, D. (2005). Array measurements of s-wave velocities from ambient vibrations. Geophysical Journal International 160, 114-126. 

Meghraoui, M., Delouis, B., Ferry, M., Giardini, D., Huggenberger, P., Spottke, I., & Granet, M. (2001). Active normal faulting in the Upper Rhine Graben and paleoseismic identification of the 1356 Basel Earthquake. Science 293, 2070-2073. 

Noack, T. (1993). Geologische Datenbank der Region Basel. Eclogae geol. Helv. 86, 283-301. 

Noack, T., Kruspan, P., Fäh, D., & Rüttener, E. (1999). Mikrozonierung von Basel-Stadt. Geologischer Bericht Nr. 24, Landeshydrologie und -Geologie Schweiz. 

Oprsal, I., Fäh, D., Mai, M. and D. Giardini (2005). Deterministic earthquake scenario for the Basel area - Simulating strong motion and site effects for Basel, Switzerland. J. Geophys. Res. 110, B04305. doi: 10.1029/2004JB003188

Oprsal, I., Fäh, D. (2007). 1D vs 3D strong ground motion hybrid modelling of site, and pronounced topography effects at Augusta Raurica, Switzerland - Earthquakes or battles? . 4th International Conference on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering, June 25-28, 2007, Paper No. 1416. 

Ripperger, J., Kästli, P., Fäh, D., Giardini, D. (2009). Ground motion and macro-seismic intensities of a seismic event related to geothermal reservoir stimulation below the city of Basel - observations and modelling. Geophysical J. Int. 179, 1757–1771. 

Zechner, E., Kind, F., Fäh, D., & Huggenberger, P. (2001). 3-D Geological model of the Southern Rhine Graben compiled on existing geological data and geo-physical reference modeling. Abstract Volume of the 2nd EUCOR-URGENT Workshop, 7.-11. October, Mont Saint-Odile, Strasbourg, France, p. 43. 

Fields of Research

Realtime Monitoring

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The study of small earthquakes related to glacier flow, so-called icequakes, can reveal important insights into the dynamics and hydraulics of glaciers. Icequakes near the glacier bed are particularly interesting, because they may be a manifestation of microseismic stick-slip sliding. This phenomenon is not fully understood and has yet to be captured in ice flow models. At the same time, basal seismicity can be a manifestation of hydraulic fracturing as melt water opens up new water channels within and beneath the glacier, a process, which is analogous to the hydraulic stimulation within geothermal reservoirs.

This project focuses on the occurrence of sliding-related stick-slip icequakes beneath Aletschgletscher. Whereas these events have been confirmed beneath the polar ice sheets (e.g. Smith et al., 2015; Roeoesli et al., 2016), it is to date not clear if they also exist beneath relatively flat Alpine glaciers. To this end, the SED conducted a two-step seismometer deployment on the glacier tongue. In a first step, three shallow borehole seismometers were installed and maintained for 1.5 years (January 2015-July 2016). These data identified an icequake cluster at the glacier bed, which was monitored in near-real time with the help of state-of-the-art real-time data communication. In June 2016, an additional network with six seismometers was installed above the cluster to confirm that the recorded icequakes are indeed stick-slip events and to provide better hypocenter locations.

The seismic Aletschgletscher record is unique in that it contains stick-slip icequakes recorded at an unrivaled quality over more than a year. This will provide an unprecedented look at seismogenic stick-slip sliding and its changes over the course of a full year. As a result of harsh weather conditions in high-melt areas, on-ice seismometer installations are extremely difficult on Alpine glaciers. Consequently, the Aletschgletscher data set offers a first-of-its-kind view on how stick-slip seismicity changes as the glacier reacts to climatic changes.

Our project is embedded in cross-disciplinary collaborative research between the Glaciology division at the Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology, and Glaciology (VAW) at ETH Zurich and the Exploration and Environmental Geophysics group at the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zurich. In the past, these groups have collected milestone records in the field of glacier seismology (Podolskiy and Walter, 2016). The joint interpretation of the Aletschgletscher data will help to improve our understanding of glacier flow and its reaction to climate change and glacier retreat, also affecting the Swiss Alps.

Project Leader at SED

Prof. Dr. Fabian Walter

SED Project Members

Prof. Dr. E. Kissling

Involved Institutions

Glaciology division at the Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology, and Glaciology (VAW) at ETH Zurich

Exploration and Enviromental Geophysics group at the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zurich

Funding Source

Swiss Seismological Service

Duration

2015-2016

Key Words

Glacier, Seismology, Climate Change, Cryosphere

Research Field

Glacier Seismology

Publications

Podolskiy E.A. and F. Walter  (2016). Cryoseismology. Reviews of Geophysics 54. doi: 10.1002/2016RG000526

Röösli C., A. Helmstetter, F. Walter, and E. Kissling (2016). Meltwater influences on deep stick-slip icequakes near the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 121, 223–240. doi: 10.1002/2015JF003601

Smith E. C., A. M. Smith, R. S. White, A. M. Brisbourne, and H. D. Pritchard (2015). Mapping the ice‐bed interface characteristics of Rutford Ice Stream, West Antarctica, using microseismicity. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 120(9), 1881-1894. 

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The SED participated in building a state-of-the art seismic network in the Arctic. We built and now continue to operate 3 stations in the new international broadband seismic capability for Greenland, the GreenLand Ice Sheet monitoring Network (GLISN). This real-time sensor array enhances and upgrades performance of the very limited pre-existing Greenland seismic infrastructure for detecting and characterizing glacial earthquakes and other phenomena emitting seismic waves. The Greenland Ice Sheet is changing, and seismology has the means to “hear” and measure these changes. Continuous, long-term monitoring of the dynamics of the Greenland Ice Sheet and its relationship to global climate change is a fundamental observational enterprise which requires multi-sensing techniques. The development of GLISN brings the seismology component into focus for monitoring Greenland’s Ice Sheet.

Glacial earthquakes have been observed along the edges of Greenland with strong seasonality and increasing frequency since 2002 by continuously monitoring data from the Global Seismographic Network (GSN). These glacial earthquakes in the magnitude range 4.6-5.1 may be modeled as a large glacial ice mass sliding downhill several meters (e.g. 10 km3 by 10 m) on its basal surface over a duration of 30 to 60 seconds. Although the mechanics of sudden sliding motions at the glacial base are not known, seasonal and temporal patterns are consistent with a dynamic response to climate warming driven by an increase in surface melting and supply of meltwater to the glacial base, and suggest that the glacial earthquakes may serve as a marker of ice-sheet response to external forcing.

Before GLISN, the detection and characterization of smaller glacial earthquakes was limited by the propagation distance to globally distributed seismic stations. Now, glacial earthquakes can be identified only using the more than 30 GLISN seismic stations within and surrounding Greenland. Because of the long durations of sliding, these glacial earthquakes do not appear in standard earthquake catalogs, and are best detected by broadband seismometers, which accurately measure both fast (< second) and slow (> 100sec) vibrations. Such seismic monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet via glacial earthquakes will complement both surficial GPS monitoring and remote sensing from satellites, by providing sensitivity to the dynamics of the glaciers at basal depths. In addition, real-time detection of glacial earthquakes permits rapid response and focusing of other sensing techniques to the dynamic region of the Ice Sheet.

All the data from the GLISN is openly available to anyone in real-time, without restriction.

Project Leader at SED

John Clinton

Involved Institutions

ETHZ, GEUS, USGS, IRIS, GFZ, IPGP, INGV, GSC, IGP

Funding Source

SNF R’Equip

Duration

2008-2010

Key Words

Greenland, Seismic Networks, Ice Sheet

Research Field

Seismic Network, Seismotectonics, Real-time monitoring

Link To Project Website

Project Website

Publications

Clinton, J. F., M. Nettles, F. Walter, K. Anderson, T. Dahl-Jensen, D. Giardini, A. Govoni, W. Hanka, S. Lasocki, W. S. Lee, D. McCormack, S. Mykkeltveit, E. Stutzmann and S. Tsuboi (2015). Seismic Network in Greenland Monitors Earth and Ice System. Eos Trans. AGU 95(2), 13-14. doi: 10.1002/2014EO020001

Earthquake Early Warning

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Chile has been struck by a number of very large earthquakes (magnitude 7.5 or greater) and tsunamis in the past. There is a clear need for building a system to provide rapid situational awareness, as well as earthquake and tsunami early warning. Since scientific instruments are expensive, we are exploring the use of dense networks of seismic and geodetic low-cost sensors. The Earthquake Science Center oft he U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has recently started to deploy a prototype network of dedicated smartphone units along the Chilean coast (Brooks et al., 2016). Each sensor box contains a smartphone with integrated MEMS accelerometer, and an external consumer-quality GPS chip and antenna to determine real-time positioning data. The total cost of each box is on the order of a few hundred dollars, nearly two orders of magnitude lower than scientific-grade installations. A first subset of 9 smartphone-boxes has been installed in November 2015; another set of 200 units will be deployed by the end of 2016.

We will invert seismic and geodetic real-time data from the smartphone units to obtain finite-fault models of large earthquakes by joint application of the seismic FinDer algorithm developed at the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) (Böse et al., 2012, 2015) and the geodetic BEFORES algorithm developed by Minson et al. (2014).

The SED collaborates in this project closely with partners at the USGS, the University of Chile, Chilean National Seismological Center, University of Houston, and GISMatters Inc.

Project Leader at SED

Maren Böse

SED Project Members

John Clinton

Involved Institutions

US Geological Survey, Earthquake Science Center, Menlo Park, CA, United States of America

Centro Sismologico Nacional, Departamento de Geofísica, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile

GISMatters, Amherst, Mass., United States of America

US Geological Survey, Pasadena, CA, United States of America

NCALM, University of Houston, Houston, TX, United States of America

Funding Source

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)

Duration

2015-2016

Key Words

Earthquake Early Warning, Seismic Networks, Low-cost Sensors, Smart-phones, Chile

Research Field

Earthquake Early Warning, Real-time monitoring, Network Seismology

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The objective of the ShakeAlert project is to implement a prototype Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) system for California and the pacific northwest of the United States. The system is currently sending warnings of imminent strong ground shaking to a selected group of test users. The project comprises algorithm development, EEW system design and implementation, and public outreach. The SED was involved in Phase I – III of the project, implementing and testing the Virtual Seismologist (VS) [Cua and Heaton, 2009], a Bayesian approach to EEW. In Phase III, the SED team also began to contribute to the development and implementation of FinDer, the first finite fault algorithm to be included in the prototype system. Currently about 300 scientists and engineers and several project partners from the public and private sector receive alerts from the ShakeAlert EEW system. The ShakeAlert project continues without formal ETH participation, though VS and FinDer continue to be core components in the development system.

Project Leader at SED

Georgia Cua (Phase I + II), John Clinton (Phase III)

SED Project Members

Michael Fischer (former member), Marta Caprio (former member), Men-Andrin Meier (former member), Yannik Behr (former member), Maren Böse

Involved Institutions

United States Geological Survey, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, California Geological Survey, California Institute of Technology, University of California Berkeley, University of Washington, University of Oregon, ETH Zurich

Funding Source

United States Geological Survey

Duration

3 x 3 years

Key Words

Prototype Earthquake Early Warning system for California and the Pacific northwest of the United States

Research Field

Earthquake Early Warning

Link To Project Website

ShakeAlert

Publications

Meier, M.-A., T. Heaton, and J. Clinton (2015). The Gutenberg Algorithm: Evolutionary Bayesian Magnitude Estimates for Earthquake Early Warning with a Filter Bank. Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am. 105(5), 2774-2786. doi: 10.1785/0120150098

Böse, M., C. Felizardo, T.H. Heaton (2015). Finite-Fault Detector Algorithm (FinDer): Going Real Time in Californian ShakeAlert Warning System. Seismological Research Letters 86(6), in press. 

Behr, Y., J. F. Clinton, P. Kästli, C. Cauzzi, and M.-A. Meier (2015). Anatomy of an Earthquake Early Warning ( EEW ) Alert : Predicting Time Delays for an End-to-End EEW System. Seismological Research Letters 86(3), 1-11. doi: 10.1785/0220140179

Cua, G. B., M. Fischer, T. H. Heaton, and S. Wiemer (2009). Real-time Performance of the Virtual Seismologist Earthquake Early Warning Algorithm in Southern California. Seismological Research Letters 80(5), 740-747. doi: 10.1785/gssrl.80.5.740

Presentations

G. Cua, R. Allen, M. Boese, H. Brown, D. Given, M. Fischer, E. Hauksson, T. Heaton, M. Hellweg, M. Liukis, T. Jordan, O. Khainovski, P. Maechling, D. Neuhauser, D. Oppenheimer, K. Solanki, M. Caprio Three Years of Comparative Real-Time Earthquake Early Warning Testing in California PDF 

Yannik Behr, John Clinton, Philipp Kästli, Roman Racine, Men-Andrin Meier, Carlo Cauzzi, Georgia Cua What to Expect from the Virtual Seismologist: Delay Times and Uncertainties of Initial Earthquake Alerts in California PDF 

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The general objective of this EC-FP7 funded joint project was to improve the efficiency of real time earthquake risk mitigation methods and its capability of protecting structures, infrastructures and people. REAKT aimed at establishing the best practice on how to use jointly all the information coming from earthquake forecast, early warning and real time vulnerability assessment. All this information needs to be combined in a fully probabilistic framework, including realistic uncertainties estimations, to be used for decision making in real time.

REAKT used a system-level earthquake science approach that required that the various temporal scales of relevance for hazard and risk mitigation in the various WPs are integrated through common tools, databases and methods. 

Our group was involved in the Work Package 2: Physics of short term seismic changes and its use for large earthquakes predictability. The key objective was to improve short-term forecasting of large earthquakes through the monitoring of the seismic and strain activity within specific fault systems. We contributed with the monitoring system, which has been installed in the Valais region including dense seismic network, GPS, geochemical and geomagnetic sensors. Special attention was paid to the analysis of seismic swarms.

Project Leader at SED

Donat Fäh

SED Project Members

Jan Burjanek

Involved Institutions

SED

Funding Source

EC

Duration

2011-2014

Key Words

short term seismic changes, earthquake precursors

Research Field

Link To Project Website

Project Website

Reports / Deliverables

Induced Seismicity

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GEOTHERM-2 conducts cross-disciplinary research towards the development of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). EGS is a technology that will allow the heat resources residing at several kilometers depths to be exploited for electricity and heat production. At present, EGS technology is not mature; two of the key challenges are the difficulty of (1) engineering a lasting heat exchanger with appropriate properties within deep, hot, low-porosity rocks, and (2) the risk of inducing felt and potentially hazardous seismic events during the development and operation of the heat exchanger.

GEOTHERM-2 continues the work initiate in the GEOTHERM-1 project (2009-2012). The project was conceived in order to provide a bridge to a major nationwide project in geothermal energy, the Swiss Competence Center Energy Research-Supply of Energy (SCCER-SoE), that was in its planning phase when GEOTHERM-2 was proposed, and has begun in the meantime.

In total thirty eight co-workers from various Departments and Institutes in ETH and in EPFL, and of the Paul Scherrer Institute contribute to the project.

The main strength of GEOTHERM-2 is to adopt a cross-disciplinary approach to the challenges mentioned above. The contributions of GEOTHERM-2 in terms of scientific results, capacity building and knowledge transfer are a therefore critical intermediate step towards successful future Pilot and Demonstration projects, and complement the activities conducted in SCCER-SoE.

The research activities in GEOTHERM-2 are organized in six Modules or work packages, which are designed to:

  • Develop and test novel observational tools for the geomechanics of reservoir creation;
  • Assess and mitigate the risks associated with noticeable induced seismicity;
  • Assess potential accidental risks leading to health and environmental impacts as well as public perceptions of risks associated with geothermal energy development;
  • Expand a multi-scale – multi-process modeling code for simulating the process of reservoir generation as well as the longer-term evolution of the reservoir during production;
  • Investigate the effects of chemical reaction between fluid and rock on long-term permeability evolution and heat extraction from the reservoir;
  • Design a decision-support tool for optimizing the use of geothermal energy in cities, by quantifying all interacting factors including geological and economic parameters, conversion efficiency and temporal heat storage, complementary energy sources and societal acceptance.
Project Leader at SED

Prof. Dr. Stefan Wiemer

SED Project Members

Prof. Dr. Stefan Wiemer, Dr. Alba Zappone, Dr. Laurentiu Danciu, Dr. Pierre Dublanchet, Dr. Valentin Gischig, Dr. Dimitrios Karvounis, Eszter Király, Dr. Toni Kraft, Lukas Heiniger, Marcus Herrmann, Dr. Anne Obermann, Dr. Arnaud Mignan, Barbara Schechinger

Involved Institutions

ETH:

  • Department of Earth sciences (ERDW): Geological Institute (GI); Institute of Geophysics (IG); Institute of Geochemistry and Petrology (IGP); Swiss Seismological Service (SED)
  • Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering (MAVT): Institute of Fluid Dynamics (IFD)
  • Department of Environmental Systems Science (USYS): Institute for Environmental Decisions (IED)

EPFL:

  • School of Engineering: The Civil Engineering Institute; Laboratory of Soil mechanics (LMS); Institute of Mechanical Engineering; Industrial Energy Systems Laboratory (IPESE)

Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI):

  • Laboratory for Energy Systems Analysis, Technology Assessment group (TA)
Funding Source

Competence Center Environment Sustainability (CCES), Competence Center Energy and Mobility (CCEM) and Bundesamt Für Energie (BFE)

Duration

2013 - 2016

Key Words

Energy, geothermy, multidisciplinary

Research Field

Induced Seismicity, Geomechanics, Geochemistry, energy conversion systems, Social Acceptance

Link To Project Website

Project Website

Publications

Deichmann N., Kraft T. and Evans K.F.  (2014). Identification of faults activated during the stimulation of the Basel geothermal project from cluster analysis and focal mechanisms of the larger magnitude events. Geothermics 52, 84-97. doi: 10.1016/j.geothermics.2014.04.001

Driesner, T. (2013). The Molecular-Scale Fundament of Geothermal Fluid Thermodynamics. Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry 76, 5-33. doi: 10.2138/rmg.2013.76.2

Gischig, V., and Wiemer, S. (2013). A stochastic model for induced seismicity based on non-linearpressure diffusion and irreversible permeability enhancement. Geophys. J. Int.. doi: 10.1093/gji/ggt164

Hillers, G., Husen, S., Obermann, A., Planès, T., Campillo, M. and Larose, E. (2015). Noise based monitoring and imaging resolve reservoir dynamics associated with the 2006 Basel injection experiment. Geophysics 80(4), 51-68. doi: 10.1190/GEO2014-0455.1

Hingerl, F.F., Kosakowski, G., Wagner, T., Kulik, D.A. and Driesner, T. (2014). GEMSFIT: a generic fitting tool for geochemical activity models. Computational Geosciences 18(2), 227-242. doi: 10.1007/s10596-014-9405-3

Hingerl, F.F., Wagner, T., Kulik, D.A., Thomsen ,K. and Driesner, T. (2014). A new aqueous activity model for geothermal brines in the system Na-K-Ca-Mg-H-Cl-SO4-H2O from 25 to 300°C. Chem. Geol.  381, 78-93. doi: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2014.05.007

Hirschberg, S., Wiemer, S. and Burgherr, P. (2015). Energy from the earth: Deep geothermal as a resource for the future?. TA-Swiss, Bern, Switzerland, 220-251. 

Kaiser, P.K., Valley, B., Dusseault, M.B. and Duff, D. (2013). Hydraulic Fracturing Mine Back Trials – Design Rational and Project status. In: Bunger, A.P., McLennan, J. and Jeffrey, R. : Effective and sustainable hydraulic fracturing. InTech. doi: 10.5772/56260

Kraft, T. and Deichmann, N. (2014). High precision relocation and focal mechanism of the injection induces seismicity at the Basel EGS. Geothermics 52, 59-73. doi: 10.1016/j.geothermics.2014.05.014

Obermann, A., Kraft, T., Larose, E. and Wiemer, S. (2015). Potential of ambient seismic noise techniques to monitor reservoir dynamics at the St. Gallen geothermal site (Switzerland). JGR. doi: 10.1002/2014JB011817

Preisig, G., Eberhardt, E., Gischig, V., Roche, V., van der Baan, M., Valley, B., Kaiser, P.K., Duff, D. and Lowther, R. (2015). Development of connected permeability in massive crystalline rocks through hydraulic fracture propagation and shearing accompanying fluid injection. Geofluids 15, 321-337. doi: 10.1111/gfl.12097

Rivera, J.A., Blum, P. and Bayer, P.  (2015). Analytical simulation of groundwater flow and land surface effects on thermal plumes of borehole heat exchangers. Applied Energy 146, 421-433. doi: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2015.02.035

Spada, M., Sutra, E., Wolf, S. and Burgherr, P.  (2014). Accident Risk Assessment for Deep Geothermal Energy Systems. In: Nowakowski, T., Mlynczak, M., Jodejko-Pietruczuk, A. and Werbinska-Woiciechowska, S.: Safety and Reliability: Methodology and Applications. Taylor and Francis Group, London UK. 

Stauffacher, M., Muggli, N., Scolobig, A. and Moser, C. (2015). Framing deep geothermal energy in mass media: the case of Switzerland. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 98, 60–70. doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2015.05.018

Weis, P., Driesner, T., Coumou, D. and Geiger, S. (2014). Hydrothermal, multiphase convection of H2O-NaCl fluids from ambient to magmatic temperatures: a new numerical scheme and benchmarks for code comparison. Geofluids 14(3), 347-371. doi: 10.1111/gfl.12080

Zezin, D., Driesner, T. and Sanchez-Valle, C.  (2015). Volumetric Properties of Na2SO4–H2O and Na2SO4–NaCl–H2O Solutions to 523.15 K, 70 MPa. J. Chem. Eng. Data 60(4), 1181–1192. doi: 10.1021/je501152a

Zezin, D., Driesner, T. and Sanchez-Valle, C.  (2014). Volumetric Properties of Mixed Electrolyte Aqueous Solutions at Elevated Temperatures and Pressures. The System KCl–NaCl–H2O to 523.15 K, 40 MPa, and Ionic Strength from (0.1 to 5.8) mol·kg–1. Journal of Chemical and Engineering Data 59, 736-749. doi: 10.1021/je400761c

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To a large part, the seismicity of Switzerland is characterized by swarm-like earthquake sequences of natural, and to a minor extent of man-made origin. Many of these sequences have been studied using relative location techniques, which often allowed to constrain the active fault plane of the larger events in a sequence and shed light on the tectonic processes that drive the seismicity. Yet, in the majority of cases the number of located earthquakes was too small to infer the details of the space-time evolution of the sequences, and their statistical parameters (e.g. magnitude-frequency distribution, Omori parameters). Therefore, it has been largely impossible to resolve clear patterns in the seismicity of individual earthquake sequences that are needed to improve our understanding of the mechanisms behind, and the differences between natural and induced earthquake sequences.

In this project we aim to significantly improve the completeness of detected and located earthquakes in the Swiss catalog. We plan to develop techniques that take advantage of the waveform similarity in natural and induced earthquake sequences to detect seismic events several orders of magnitude below the detection threshold of classical signal energy based detectors. Waveform similarity will than further be exploited to derive accurate and consistent magnitudes and locations for even the smallest events of the sequences.

Building on the data from this analysis we plan to study the processes and physics behind natural and induced microseismicity, e.g.:

  • understanding why natural earthquakes occur in swarm-like sequences
  • identifying triggering mechanisms of natural and induced earthquake sequences
  • understanding the differences and similarities of natural and induced earthquake sequences
  • detect and study repeated earthquakes
Project Leader at SED

Toni Kraft

SED Project Members

Marcus Herrmann, Stefan Wiemer

Funding Source

SED, Bundesamt für Energie

Duration

2014-2016

Key Words

Induced Seismicity, Real-time monitoring, Earthquake Statistics

Research Field

Induced Seismicity, Real-time monitoring, Earthquake Statistics

Publications

Kraft, T., Diehl, T., Korger, E. and Tormann, T. (2014). Taking Surface Seismic Monitoring to the Nano-Seismic Scale: Results from Natural and Induced Seismic Sequences in Switzerland. AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts 1, 4552. 

At the geothermal project Schlattingen/TG a borehole was sunk to 1.2km depth and stimulated with acid in early 2013. The Swiss Seismological Service monitored the acid stimulation with borehole and surface seismometers and in this way created a highly sensitive system for the detection of smallest fracture processes. The goal of the monitoring was to better understand the fundamental processes of a chemical stimulation, and to test if the analysis of tiny earthquakes can be used for the calibration of seismic hazard models to shorten the death times of traffic light systems. By comparing downhole and surface data, the performance of the different network and the attenuation of ambient seismic noise with depth will be investigated. In the framework of the project GEOBEST the results will be used to develop guidelines for the design of seismic monitoring networks. 

Project Leader at SED

Toni Kraft

Funding Source

Bundesamt für Energie

Duration

2013-2015

Key Words

Research Field

Induced Seismicity, Real-time monitoring, reservoir stimulation techniques

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The processes and conditions underpinning induced seismicity associated with deep geothermal operations are still not sufficiently well understood to make useful predictions as to the likely seismic response to reservoir development and exploitation. The empirical data include only a handful of well-monitored EGS experiments; models are consequently poorly constrained. Unfortunately, datasets of well-monitored deep hydrothermal experiments are missing and empirical constraints of induced seismicity models for these cases do not exist. Given that the majority of the projects underway or planned in Europe are of the hydrothermal type, there is hope that this deficit can be remedied in the near future through a close cooperation of geothermal industry, science and public authorities.

This is where the GeoBest project comes to play. By supporting selected pilot project for a limited time, SED facilitates the dialog with geothermal industry. Besides of the unique opportunity to collect high quality seismic data and being able to access relevant project data, gaining first hand practical experience in this field is of paramour importance for the development of significant best practice guidlines.

Project Leader at SED

Toni Kraft

SED Project Members

INDU group

Funding Source

Bundesamt für Energie

Duration

2011-2015

Key Words

Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS); Induced seismicity; High-precision hypocenter locations; Activated faults

Research Field

Induced Seismicity, Earthquake Statistics, Seismotectonics, Real-time monitoring

Publications

Deichmann, N., Kraft, T. and Evans, K.F. (2014). Identification of faults activated during the stimulation of the Basel geothermal project from cluster analysis and focal mechanisms of the larger magnitude events. Geothermics 52, 84-97. doi: 10.1016/j.geothermics.2014.04.001

Diehl, T., Kraft, T., Kissling, E., Deichmann, N., Clinton, J. and Wiemer, S. (2014). High-precision relocation of induced seismicity in the geothermal system below St. Gallen (Switzerland). EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts 16, 12541. 

Edwards, B., Kraft, T., Cauzzi, C., Kastli, P. and Wiemer, S. (2015). Seismic monitoring and analysis of deep geothermal projects in St Gallen and Basel, Switzerland. Geophys. J. Int. 201, 1020-1037. 

Evans, K.F., Zappone, A., Kraft, T., Deichmann, N. and Moia, F.  (2012). A survey of the induced seismic responses to fluid injection in geothermal and CO2 reservoirs in Europe. Geothermics 41, 30-54. doi: 10.1016/j.geothermics.2011.08.002

Goertz, A., Riahi, N., Kraft, T. and Lambert, M.  (2012). Modeling Detection Thresholds of Microseismic Monitoring Networks. 2012 SEG Annual Meeting. Society of Exploration Geophysicists. 

Kraft, T., Mignan, A. and Giardini, D. (2013). Optimization of a large-scale microseismic monitoring network in northern Switzerland. Geophysical Journal International 195, 474-490. doi: 10.1093/gji/ggt225

Kraft, T., Wiemer, S., Deichmann, N., Diehl, T., Edwards, B., Guilhem, A., Haslinger, F. et al. (2013). The ML 3.5 earthquake sequence induced by the hydrothermal energy project in St. Gallen, Switzerland. AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts 1, 3. 

Kraft, T. and Deichmann, N.  (2014). High-precision relocation and focal mechanism of the injection-induced seismicity at the Basel EGS. Geothermics 52, 59-73. doi: 10.1016/j.geothermics.2014.05.014

Kraft, T. (2015). A high-resolution ambient seismic noise model for Europe. EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts 16, 12407. 

Kraft, T. et al. (2015). Lessons learned from the 2013 ML3.5 induced earthquake sequence at the St. Gallen geothermal site. Schatzalp Workshop on Induced Seismicity, Davos, Switzerland. 

Obermann, A., Kraft, T., Larose, E. and Wiemer, S. (2015). Potential of ambient seismic noise techniques to monitor the St. Gallen geothermal site (Switzerland). J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth 120(6), 4301–4316. doi: 10.1002/2014JB011817

Plenkers, K., Husen, S. and Kraft, T. (2015). A Multi-Step Assessment Scheme for Seismic Network Site Selection in Densely Populated Areas. Journal of Seismology 19(4), 861-879. 

The Noville network is operated under a contract with Petrosvibri SA. The purpose of the network is to monitor induced seismicity related to a deep gas exploration drilling project near Noville, VD.

Project Leader at SED

Stephan Husen

SED Project Members

Toni Kraft

Funding Source

Petrosvibri SA

Duration

2009-2012

Key Words

Induced Seismicity, Real-time monitoring, Engineer Seismology

Research Field

Induced Seismicity, Real-time monitoring, Engineer Seismology

The Brigerbad network is operated under a contract with Geothermie Brigerbad AG. The purpose of the network is to monitor induced seismicity related to the extraction of hot thermal waters from 400-600 m deep boreholes in Brigerbad, VS.

Project Leader at SED

Stephan Husen

SED Project Members

Toni Kraft

Funding Source

Geothermie Brigerbad AG

Duration

2009-2011

Key Words

Geothermie Brigerbad AG

Research Field

Induced Seismicity, Real-time monitoring

Earthquake-induced Phenomena

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The reliable detection of snow avalanches, landslides and rockfall provides the basis for any advanced investigation on triggering mechanisms, risk assessment or the identification of possible precursors. It is well known that such phenomena produce specific seismic signals. Nonetheless, the manual detection on seismic traces is not feasible since it is extremely time consuming and results are influenced by the subjective view of the analyst. Automatic detection is therefore preferred, as unbiased results are obtained in near real-time. In this project, we will take advantage of an automatic classification procedure for continuous seismic signals to detect avalanches, landslides and rockfalls in continuous streams of seismic data. The applied method is independent of previously acquired data and classification schemes, offering the opportunity to detect very rare and highly variable events.

The goal of this project is to improve the detection across the entire Swiss Alps and to better understand possible triggering mechanisms. In addition accurate information on the number and release time of avalanches will provide an important contribution to the avalanche warning service at the SLF. This research is highly relevant since large scale avalanche and landslide monitoring will provide reliable data for further research, the development of near real-time products and improved risk assessment and warning systems.

Project Leader at SED

Donat Fäh

SED Project Members

Conny Hammer

Involved Institutions

SLF

Funding Source

SED, WSL

Duration

2015-2016

Key Words

snow avalanches, landslides, rockfalls, automatic detection, monitoring

Research Field

real-time monitoring, avalanche and landslide detection

Publications
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This is an interdisciplinary project between Engineering Geology and Seismology funded by ETH Zürich, in which we analyze ambient vibration and earthquake recordings to obtain the seismic response of unstable rock slopes. We perform systematic measurements and interpretation of ambient vibrations at known unstable rock slopes, both with double stations and arrays. The eigenfrequencies, predominant directions, and amplification of ambient vibrations are identified. The interpretation of recordings targets the estimation of the potential landslide volume, and is supported by numerical modeling of seismic wave propagation in fractured media. The expected output is a classification scheme to characterize slope structure and possibly infer potential slope instability from the ambient noise recordings. Moreover, both short-term and long-term monitoring and analysis of the slopes’ seismic response is undertaken to understand time evolution of the slope structure. Short-term monitoring is performed at the Alpe di Roscioro (Preonzo) site which represents a unique opportunity of monitoring a slope close to collapse. Long-term monitoring is based on the analysis of available past recordings from existing seismic networks, especially for stations located at or very close to steep cliffs. The expected results have the potential to be applied directly in hazard analysis and risk reduction measures. We plan to develop a tool that can be applied routinely by a trained person to quickly (ideally in real-time) assess the state of a rock slope.

Project Leader at SED

Donat Fäh

SED Project Members

Ulrike Kleinbrod, Jan Burjánek

Funding Source

ETHZ

Duration

2013-2016

Key Words

unstable rock slopes, ambient vibrations, ground motion modelling

Research Field

Seismic hazard, earthquake induced effects, engineering seismology

Engineering Seismology

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In cooperation with the National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (Nagra), the Swiss Seismological Service has recently completed the installation of ten new seismological observation stations, three of them including a co-located borehole sensor. The ultimate goal of the project is to densify the existing Swiss Digital Seismic Network (SDSNet) in Northern Switzerland, in order to increase the sensitivity to very-low magnitude events and to improve the accuracy of future location solutions. This is strategic for unbiased monitoring of micro-seismicity at the places of proposed nuclear waste repositories.

At each site, to further improve the quality and usability of the recordings, a full seismic characterization of the area surrounding the installation area was performed. The investigation consisted of a preliminary geological and geotechnical study, followed by an accurate seismic site response analysis by means of state-of-art geophysical techniques. For the borehole stations, in particular, the characterization was performed by combining different types of active seismic methods (refraction tomography, surface wave analysis, Vertical Seismic Profiling, VSP) with ambient vibration based approaches (wavelet decomposition, H/V spectral ratio, polarization analysis, three component f-k analysis).

Results converged to the definition a unique summary velocity profile for the site, later used for the computation of the analytical SH-wave amplification function

Project Leader at SED

Donat Fäh

SED Project Members

Valerio Poggi

Involved Institutions

SED

Funding Source

Nagra

Duration

2012-2015

Key Words

Site characterization, seismic stations

Research Field

Applied and engineering seismology

Publications

Poggi, V., Keller, L. and Fäh, D. (2014). The new broadband seismic network in Northern Switzerland: Site characterization. Nagra Arbeitsbericht NAB, 15-54. 

Dal Moro, G., Keller, L. and Poggi, V. (2015). A comprehensive seismic characterisation via multi-component analysis of active and passive data. First Break 33(9), 45-53. 

Reports / Deliverables

By means of theoretical and computational modeling, the research in Earthquake Physics Group aimed to cover the entire process of earthquakes: its source, radiation path, and ground motion at the surface. We performed both fundamental research on earthquake rupture dynamic processes and wave propagation and apply it for the development of physics-based models for ground motion prediction, seismic hazard assessment and earthquake engineering applications. Our main goal was to acquire a better understanding in the physics and mechanics of earthquakes.

The research topics were:

  • Dynamic rupture at a bi-material interface
  • Earthquake rupture in geometrically complex fault systems
  • Dynamics of off-fault plastic yielding formation and tensile crack propagation during dynamic rupture
  • Development of laboratory-based friction models (slip weakening and rate and state)
  • Limits on extreme ground motion due to strength limits and distributed shearing
  • Difference between surface-rupturing and buried earthquake rupture
  • Geodynamic and earthquake cycles
  • Coupling geodynamic and dynamic earthquake faulting models
  • Wave propagation in complex media
  • Identification of both source- and propagation-dominated ground motion phenomena
  • Source inversion and pseudo-dynamic source models
  • Physics-based broad-band ground motion simulation

Development of physics-based Ground Motion Prediction Equation Models (GMPE)

Project Leader at SED

Luis A. Dalguer

SED Project Members

Cyrill Baumann

Alice Gabriel

Percy Galvez

Walter Imperatori

Banu Mena Cabrera

Seok Goo Song

Ylona van Dinther

Youbing Zhang

Involved Institutions

SED

Funding Source

SNF

CSCS, CCES-ETH, SCEC, Volksbankstiftung, 7th Framework Program of the European Commission

Duration

2009-2014

Key Words

Earthquake rupture dynamic, ground motion modeling, numerical simulation, friction models, earthquake cycles.

Research Field

Physics of earthquake, Earthquake seismology, engineering seismology, High Performance Computing

Publications

Galvez, P., Dalguer, L.A., Ampuero, J.P. and Giardini, D. (2016). Slip reactivation during the 2011 Mw 9.0 Tohoku earthquake: Dynamic rupture and ground motion simulations. Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., In press. 

Zhang, Y., Dalguer, L.A., Song, S.G., Clinton, J. and Giardini, D. (2015). Evaluating the effect of network density and geometric distribution on kinematic source inversion models. Geophys. J. Int. 200, 1-6. doi: 10.1093/gji/ggu252

Herrendoerfer, R., van Dinther, Y., Gerya, T.V. and Dalguer, L.A. (2015). Seismogenic zone downdip width controls supercycles at subduction thrusts. Nature Geoscience 8, 471–474. doi: 10.1038/ngeo2427

Galvez, P., Ampuero, J.P., Dalguer, L.A., Somala, S.N. and Nissen-Meyer, T. (2014). Dynamic earthquake rupture modeled with an unstructured 3D spectral element method applied to the 2011 M9 Toholu earthquake. Geophys. J. Int. 198, 1222–1240. doi: 10.1093/gji/ggu203

Baumann, C. and Dalguer, L.A. (2014). Evaluating the Compatibility of Dynamic-Rupture-Based Synthetic Ground Motion with Empirical GMPE. Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am. 104(2). doi: 10.1785/0120130077

van Dinther, Y., Gerya, T.V., Dalguer, L.A. and Mai, P.M.  (2014). Modeling the seismic cycle in subduction zones: the role and spatiotemporal occurrence of off-megathrust earthquakes. Geophysical Research Letters 41(4), 1194–1201. 

Song, S.G., Dalguer, L.A. and Mai, P.M. (2013). Pseudo-dynamic source modeling with 1-point and 2-point statistics of earthquake source parameters. Geophys. J. Int. 196(3), 1770-1786. doi: 10.1093/gji/ggt479

Causse, M., Dalguer, L. A. and Mai, P.M.  (2013). Variability of Dynamic Source Parameters Inferred from Kinematic Models of Past Earthquakes. Geophys. J. Int. 196(3), 1754-1769. doi: 10.1093/gji/ggt478

van Dinther, Y., Gerya, T.V., Dalguer, L.A., Mai, P.M., Morra, G. and Giardini, D.  (2013). The seismic cycle at subduction thrusts: insights from seismo-thermo-mechanical models. J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth 118(12), 6183–6202. doi: 10.1002/2013JB010380

Baumann, C., Burjanek, J., Michel, C., Haeh, D. and Dalguer, L.A.  (2013). Fault zone signatures from ambient vibration measurements: a case study in the region of Visp (Valais, Switzerland). Swiss J. Geosci. 106, 529-541. doi: 10.1007/s00015-013-0155-3

Gabriel, A.A., Ampuero, J.P., Dalguer, L.A. and Mai, P.M. (2013). Source Properties of Dynamic Rupture Pulses with Off-Fault Plasticity. J. Geophys. Res. 118(8), 4117–4126. doi: 10.1002/jgrb.50213

Song, S.G. and Dalguer, L.A.  (2013). Importance of 1-point statistics in earthquake source modeling for ground motion simulation. Geophys. J. Int. 192(3), 1255-1270. doi: 10.1093/gji/ggs089

van Dinther, Y, Gerya, T.V., Dalguer, L. A., Corbi, F., Funiciello, F. and Mai, P.M.  (2013). The seismic cycle at subduction thrusts: 2. Dynamic implications of geodynamic simulations benchmarked with laboratory models. J. Geophys. Res. 118(4), 1502–1525. doi: 10.1029/2012JB009479

Mikhailov, V., Lyakhovsky, V., Panet, I., van Dinther, Y., Diament, M., Gerya, T.V., deViron, O. and Timoshkina, E.  (2013). Numerical modelling of post-seismic rupture propagation after the Sumatra 26.12.2004 earthquake constrained by GRACE gravity data. Geophysical Journal International 194(2), 640-650. doi: 10.1093/gji/ggt145

Corbi, F., Funiciello, F., Moroni, M., van Dinther, Y., Mai, P.M., Dalguer, L.A. and Faccenna, C. (2012). The seismic cycle at subduction thrusts: 1. insights from laboratory models.  J. Geophys. Res. 118(4), 1483–1501. doi: 10.1029/2012JB009481

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Hydrocarbon-bearing geological structures might cause characteristic modifications of the ambient vibration background noise. This question is addressed in a project supported by the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) together with the company SpectraSeis. The link between observations and geological structure can only be made by understanding the wavefield that is recorded. This requires the simultaneous recording and analysis of ambient vibration wave-fields on arrays. Such methods have been developed in the past, and they have been applied to study soft-sediment surface deposits for seismic hazard analysis.

The analysis of all three components of ground motion is addressed. Analysis of such recordings targets to distinguish between standing waves (global resonances) and propagating surface waves (Love- and Rayleigh-waves) as well as body waves (SH and PSV). By adapting array configurations during the measurements in the field, the identification of the wave-types with the corresponding propagation velocity and direction is optimized and allows to determine the source region of the waves and their possible origin. From the wave characteristics, structural information can be inverted that allows to improve structural models. The development of a real-time system for array measurements is part of the project.

Project Leader at SED

Donat Fäh

SED Project Members

Stefano Maranò, Javier Revilla

Involved Institutions

SED, Spectraseis AG

Funding Source

Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI)

Duration

2009-2012

Key Words

Array methods, ambient vibration, hydrocarbon reservoir detection

Research Field

Strong-motion interpretation and site-effects, Signal Processing

Publications

Maranò, S., Reller, C., Fäh, D. and Loeliger, H.-A. (2011). Seismic waves estimation and wave field decomposition with factor graphs. Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, 2748–2751. Prague, Czech Republic: IEEE. doi: 10.1109/ICASSP.2011.5947054

Reller, C., Loeliger, H.-A. and Maranò, S. (2011). Multi-sensor estimation and detection of phase-locked sinusoids. Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, 3872–3875. Prague, Czech Republic: IEEE. doi: 10.1109/ICASSP.2011.5947197

Maranò, S., Reller, C., Loeliger, H.-A. and Fäh, D. (2012). Seismic waves estimation and wave field decomposition: Application to ambient vibrations. Geophys. J. Int. 191, 175–188. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2012.05593.x

Maranò, S. and Fäh, D. (2013). Processing of Translational and Rotational Motions of Surface Waves: Performance Analysis and Applications to Single Sensor and to Array Measurements. Geophys. J. Int. 196, 317-339. doi: 10.1093/gji/ggt18

Maranò, S., Fäh, D. and Lu, Y.M. (2014). Sensor placement for the analysis of seismic surface waves: sources of error, design criterion and array design algorithms. Geophys. J. Int. 197(3), 1566–1581. doi: 10.1093/gji/ggt489

Presentations

S. Maranò Seismic wave field decomposition application to the analysis of ambient vibrations. European Seismological Commission 32nd Assembly, September 6-10 2010, Montpellier, France. 

S. Maranò Seismic Waves Estimation and Wave Field Decomposition With Factor Graphs. IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, May 22-27 2011, Prague, Czech Republic. 

S. Maranò Maximum likelihood parameter estimation for surface waves: application to ambient vibrations. 4th International IASPEI/IAEE Symposium on the Effects of Surface Geology on Seismic Motion, August 23-26 2011, Santa Barbara, California. 

S. Maranò Maximum Likelihood wavefield parameters estimation: Application to the analysis of ambient vibrations. European Seismological Commission 33rd Assembly, August 19-24 2012, Moscow, Russia. 

S. Maranò Joint processing of translational and rotational motions of seismic surface waves: Performance analysis and applications. IASPEI Assembly, July 12-26 2013, Gothenburg, Sweden. Invited presentation. 

S. Maranò Analysis of ambient vibrations using a maximum likelihood method. European Seismological Commission 34th Assembly, August 24-29 2014, Istanbul, Turkey. 

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The project includes the work of two PhD candidates, addressing practical problems related to source characterization (Falko Bethmann) and site-effect assessment (Valerio Poggi). In the first part of this PhD project, scaling relations between small and large earthquakes are developed and the potential impact of such relations on estimating maximum near-fault ground motions is studied. In the second part of the project, new techniques for site characterization and site response analysis are implemented. First, a new method to analyze three component array recordings of ambient vibration is developed that allows retrieving the ellipticity functions of the different Rayleigh-wave modes. Subsequently, a procedure to combine passive (ambient vibration) and active-source techniques is proposed, with the goal to improve resolution of array measurements on shallow layers from high frequency component of the wave-field. Finally, generic amplification functions are developed for a common reference condition in Switzerland that serve as input for site-specific seismic hazard assessment.

Project Leader at SED

Donat Fäh

SED Project Members

Valerio Poggi, Falko Bethmann, Nico Deichmann

Involved Institutions

SED

Funding Source

SNF

Duration

2006-2010

Key Words

Seismic source characterization, site-effects

Research Field

Applied and engineering seismology

Publications

Poggi, V. and Fäh, D. (2010). Estimating Rayleigh wave particle motion from three-component array analysis of ambient vibrations. Geophys. J. Int. 180(1), 251-267. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04402.x

Poggi, V., Edwards, B. and Fäh, D. (2011). Derivation of a Reference Shear-Wave Velocity Model from Empirical Site Amplification. Bull. Seim. Soc. Am. 101(1), 258-274. doi: 10.1785/0120100060

Poggi, V., Fäh, D. and Giardini, D. (2012). T-f-k analysis of surface waves using the continuous wavelet transform. Pure and Applied Geophysics 170(3), 319-335. 

Poggi, V., Fäh, D., Burjanek, J. and Giardini, D. (2012). The use of Rayleigh wave ellipticity for site-specific hazard assessment and microzonation. An application to the city of Luzern (Switzerland). Geophys. J. Int. 188(3), 1154-1172. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.05305.x