Caltech launches Terrascope



Geophysicists at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, will get real-time data about Earth motions with a new advanced seismic network they are installing. The Caltech terrestrial telescope, or “Terrascope,” will ultimately consist of an array of at least 10 broad-band, high-dynamic-range, digital seismometers placed around southern California, linked by satellite telemetry, and serviced by high-speed computers. In addition to the advanced data-recording features, each Terrascope station will have receivers for the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites and will be a permanent part of that geodetic network.

Terrascope's seismometers will have a dynamic range about 10,000 times broader than ordinary seismometers, so they will be able to record large and small earthquakes on the same scale. With additional data, geophysicists will be able to determine more about such earthquake characteristics as fault area, energy spectrum, and duration of ground breakage.