Initiatives

Overview

The forefront of seismological research is constantly evolving. New scientific questions drive new algorithms and techniques, which in turn stimulate the need for new observatory and equipment capabilities. The resultant new data sets lead to even newer techniques that better exploit the data and can lead to new geological hypotheses. This feedback loop has been present since the inception of IRIS as a community facility to implement and operate the seismological infrastructure that supports the ever-changing science requirements of the community. The revolution in instrumentation and data standards that emerged in the 1980s was championed and adopted in the early years of IRIS—24-bit data loggers, broadband feedback seismometers, real-time telemetry and advanced data management systems—and have served to put the US academic community at the forefront of global seismological research. While there has continued to be evolution in IRIS utilization of these technologies over the past 20 years, revolutionary technologies that are now available or on the close horizon offer the opportunity to stimulate another significant advance in seismological research. To this end, IRIS Instrumentation Services will undertake and coordinate four key instrumentation activities described below that will address the communities’ future instrumentation needs; build the foundations of future obser- vatories; and promulgate knowledge and best practices to enhance data quality, availability, and impact.

Instrumentation Initiatives

Figure 1: NT Instrument Pool Example
Receiver function image along the Sierra Nevada range. (top) Transportable Array (TA) data-only image. (bottom) TA data augmented with Flexible Array (FA) data. The TA-only image contains significant imaging artifacts and is unreliable. Yet, the combined TA and FA image is much higher quality, illuminating the negative velocity gradient associated with the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary. The combined data image fold is enhanced five times. The filter band is 30–2 s and the image bin size is 100 km. (left) Topography, cross section, and station locations. The circles show the FA stations (red) and the TA stations (blue). (Figure courtesy of Ken Dueker and Katie Foster)