Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Collecting, digitizing, and distributing historical seismological data



The digital preservation of the unique seismological heritage consisting of historical seismograms and earthquake bulletins, and of related documentation (e.g., observatory logbooks, station books, etc.), is critically important in order to avoid deterioration and loss overtime [Kanamori, 1988]. Dissemination of this seismological material in digital form is of equal importance, to allow reanalysis of past earthquakes using modern techniques and the reevaluation of seismic hazard. This is of particular interest for those areas where little or no earthquake activity has occurred since the last significant historical earthquake.

In 2001, the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) started an innovative project, Progetto SISMOS (i.e., SISMOgrammi Storici), to scan (i.e., convert into digital form for storage on a computer), at very high resolution,and archive seismological paper records and related material. The Italian Ministry for the Environment originally funded the project to encompass the digitization of seismogram records of the Italian seismic observatories and of associated bulletins