Building seismic expertise in Africa

Experts from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) took part in the first African Seismological Commission General Assembly from 2 to 5 April 2016, in Luxor, Egypt.

CTBTO experts chaired a session on the “Development, Testing and Validation of Regional Seismic Travel Times (RSTT) in Africa”. RSTT is a U.S.-developed seismic velocity model and computer software package that captures the major effects of three-dimensional crust and upper mantle structure on regional seismic travel times. This allows seismic events to be located with greater precision.

The CTBTO team in Luxor - from left: Ronan Le Bras, Software Engineer, Abdelouaheb Agrebi, Review and Services Officer and Ezekiel Jonathan, Waveform Lead Analyst

Following the meeting, the CTBTO conducted a training course for African seismologists on National Data Centre (NDC) in a box, running from 6 to 9 April. NDC-in-a-box is the CTBTO’s standard software package which enables any NDC to receive International Data Centre (IDC) data and products and to analyze these, using as little as one standard laptop.

Regional Seismic Travel Time model

The course was a good introduction to the RSTT method and we are looking forward to learn and participate more.

The CTBTO funded the participation of scientists from Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, and Sudan in the meeting and the training course.

Read more about Africa’s contribution to the nuclear test-ban (PDF).

This is the uniquely democratic nature of the CTBT – giving to all Member States equal access to our data and products.

Capacity building measures such as these, which rely heavily on the EU’s voluntary contributions, have led to a seven-fold increase in access to IDC data by countries in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean in the period 2008 to 2015.