Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies contact@dias.ie 00353 (0) 16140100

Irish National Seismic Network to be upgraded

Geological Survey Ireland and Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies are to invest €1.5m to expand and upgrade the Irish National Seismic Network. New funding will result in more stations, greater coverage and more accurate recording of earthquakes in Ireland.

Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) operates and maintains the Irish National Seismic Network (INSN), see www.insn.ie. In 2018, Geological Survey Ireland (GSI) formalised a new partnership to support and expand the national network.

Since the first seismometers were installed in 1978, DIAS has collected seismic data in Ireland. Currently there are six permanent seismic stations recording ground vibrations in Ireland. These vibrations vary from very small movements caused by local activities (e.g. earthquakes and quarry blasts) to large global earthquakes that are recorded on the Irish network. With GSI support, in 2019 DIAS will expand this network to 12 seismometers. “The new investment has allowed us to upgrade our stations and the additional seismometers will provide data that will enable us to more accurately locate seismic events and describe their characteristics. These are extremely sensitive instruments so they can detect movement, even the very small vibrations, that we don’t usually feel ourselves.” said Prof. Chris Bean, Head of the Geophysics Section at DIAS.

Data from these seismometers are transmitted in real-time to DIAS in Merrion Square, Dublin. Commenting on the new partnership, Mr Koen Verbruggen (GSI Director) said “In the past we have had to rely on organisations outside Ireland to deliver information on Irish earthquakes, this will no longer be the case. Geological Survey Ireland has a long partnership with DIAS and we are very happy to support this national monitoring and observational network. The data will be of great benefit to our country-wide hazard monitoring work, one of the important aspects of our role as the national geoscience agency, and understanding the crust beneath Ireland. We are also very glad to see that the information will be freely available to the public, researchers and international colleagues through the INSN website. It is my hope that the presence of this network and access to the data will foster further collaboration with schools and also inspire students to look at geophysics and geology as a potential career path.”

The INSN data are fed into open, international databases (e.g. GFZ (GeoForschungsZentrum, Germany); ORFEUS (Observatories and Research Facilities for European Seismology) and IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, USA) where it can be accessed in real-time by seismological observatories and researchers for a range of hazards monitoring and research applications. Direct data exchange with the British Geological Survey (BGS) is an important part of the operation of both the INSN and the national seismic network in the UK.

“We really are part of an international community” said Dr Martin Möllhoff, Director of Seismic Networks at DIAS. “Seismic data recorded in Ireland is used to more accurately estimate global events and is downloaded by researchers around the world. In some cases our data is particularly useful to international colleagues as we are in a unique geographical and geological location that produces some very interesting datasets”.

Geological Survey Ireland has a stand at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition 2019 January 9th-12th in the RDS, which includes a display from DIAS Geophysics. Come by to see how we record and use seismic data.