Seismology is one of the most advanced and well organised disciplines considering FAIR principles. With an International Federation of Digital Seismograph Networks (FDSN) providing guidelines and formal specifications for data formats and provisioning services, in order to foster the standardisation of data search, selection and retrieval, the community was able to develop an interoperable ecosystem of software clients and users.

The last few decades have been characterised by a large amount of new additional permanent and temporary conventional seismic stations becoming available. It is also already clear that there are some game-changing technologies under development. The demand for new dense observations using new technologies is advancing fast. This includes Large N deployments consisting of huge numbers of easy-to-install geophones, and fibre-optic based technologies (DAS), that are each starting to show their great potential in providing quality data with a wide spectrum of applications ranging from Tsunami early warning to Infrastructure monitoring.

Fibre-optic can be employed as to measure ground motion using the so called distributed acoustic sensing technique (DAS) with existing underground fibre-optic cables, present everywhere in cities and even in the seafloor (see Figure 1 below), up to tens of kilometres long, or even deploying dedicated short fibre-optic cables. Alternative usage of fibre-optic communication cables can be also placed along their repeaters (typically 50-100 km intervals) conventional sensors and only use the fibre-optic for communication, for example at the ocean floor using existing submarine cables. These techniques allow to image the internal structure of faults with an unprecedented resolution, to infer creeping processes of faults at sub-micrometre step, or to provide a global network of real-time data for ocean climate and sea level monitoring.

Fig. 1: A fiber-optic cable in the seafloor; after Jousset, P., 2019, Science

Challenges addressed

Although data quality and resolution of the techniques mentioned above are different, they have in common the potential to produce large volumes of data in a very short period of time due to both the extremely dense spatial and temporal resolutions. The datasets generated by these new technologies (e.g. DAS) would make it impossible to still use the same standard data formats and standard specifications for data provisioning services.

Seismological web services have been designed several years ago with particular types of user and data in mind, which are not exclusively what we see today, and these new acquisition techniques are a challenge for data centres and users.

The main aim in this use case is to keep FAIRness in the community by developing automated tools to standardise these datasets, and new implementation of the standard services capable of working with these new data.

Benefits through EOSC-Pillar

Thanks to EOSC-Pillar, as well as developments in previous EOSC projects, users of dastools will benefit from integration with other common services and infrastructure offered by EOSC-Pillar. For instance, the Authentication and Authorization Infrastructure (AAI) integrated in EIDA/ORFEUS and provided by the B2ACCESS service hosted by Forschungszentrum Jülich.

Another benefit provided by the collaboration with Pillar partners is the capability to store the data requested in different cloud services (e.g. Nextcloud), or HPC facilities by means of services like Globus.


Results as of May 2021

  • Development and publication of dastools, a software package designed to standardise datasets from DAS experiments.
    • Capability to convert to standard formats.
    • Ready-to-use standard data provisioning web services on top of non-standard data format. Light weight and providing data in standard formats (e.g. miniSEED) and through standard protocols (FDSN-Dataselect).
    • Provision of ready to use containers to use the software.
  • After almost two years of a joint effort with partners from two of the most important seismological data centers at international level (IRIS-USA, RESIF-France), we were able to provide a complete landscape analysis covering all aspects of the data life cycle for these novel datasets (see Publications below).
    • We include in our analysis all aspects of the FAIR principles: not only the technical, but also the ones related to data management and even bureaucratic aspects of the international federation (FDSN) regulating the seismological standards for formats and services.
    • Development of guidelines for a proper data acquisition and data ingestion into seismological archives. GEOFON is taken as an example, but the procedures remain as generic as possible.
  • Special session at the General Assembly of the European Seismological Commission 2021 (ESC) in September 2021 to present and discuss results on the topics covered in this Task.


Future steps

  • On-going analysis of metadata changes needed in order to keep these new experiments within the standards, in cooperation with international partners. The final aim is to propose new standards where needed.