Page 1 - Waveform data
processing and analysis

Every single day, several gigabytes of waveform data from IMS stations arrive at the IDC in Vienna. Without processing, this bulk of information would be of little use to most States.  Quick answers to the most pressing questions are needed.

Was an event detected?  Where did it take place? What characteristics does it display? How big was the event?  Was it a natural or a man-made event? Targeted processing of monitoring data is needed to give States the necessary information to answer these questions and enable them to make decisions concerning the nature of an event.

Waveform data are derived from the monitoring of seismic and acoustic waves that move through the Earth, the oceans and the atmosphere. Their analysis answers crucial questions about an event.

Three of the four monitoring technologies are called waveform technologies, comprising seismic, hydroacoustic and infrasound technologies. They are used to monitor and record the movement of energy that is generated by certain events and propagates as seismic waves or acoustic waves through the Earth, the oceans or the atmosphere. 

Monitoring data recorded at stations using these three technologies are called waveform data. Typically, waveform data are displayed as traces moving across a computer screen with the x-axis showing time and the y-axis representing the movement of the medium that is being monitored, i.e. ground, air or water.