consider the renovation of the GSN in future years including the requirements for W phase deconvolution.

A new seismometer has been developed and tested, which senses mass position through interferometry using fiber optics for light transmission. Unlike the STS-1 above, a force balance feedback is not used to reduce mass movement to maintain linearity in the displacement sensor. The resultant dynamic range is much greater than a conventional seismometer and is achieved by counting interference rings with a Mickelson interferometer. The output can be shaped computationally as needed and could be used to provide data with high fidelity at low frequencies for measuring the W phase.8 The optical seismometer has a response that is flat to ground acceleration between DC and about 1 Hz. There is, thus, no need to deconvolve the instrument response for W phase band measurements. Another of the benefits of the optical approach is that with good response at tidal frequencies, absolute calibration against earth tides on a continuous basis is straightforward. The optical seismometer remains under development for horizontal component testing and reducing noise levels at low frequencies—a borehole version is being tested.

To increase the longevity of the STS-1 seismometer, replacement feedback circuitry has been developed to replace the aging electronics ( The corner frequency of the STS-1 remains at 1/360 Hz for the new electronics.

PTWC staff indicated that they are in the process of implementing a W phase algorithm, but a careful vetting of the algorithm before it can be reliably applied will be required.

Recommendation: Before implementing the W phase algorithm in TWC operations, the NOAA Tsunami Program should validate the W algorithm to both a sufficient dataset of synthetic seismograms and to waveforms from past great earthquakes, paying particular attention to its performance in “tsunami earthquakes” and to the assessment of a lower-magnitude bound for its domain of applicability.


1. Richter, C.F. 1935. An instrumental earthquake-magnitude scale. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 25(1):1-32.

2. Kanamori, H. 1977. The energy release in great earthquakes. Journal of Geophysical Research 82(20):2981-2987.

3. Hanks, T.C. and H. Kanamori. 1979. A moment magnitude scale. Journal of Geophysical Research 84(B5):2348-2350.

4. Tsuboi, S., K. Abe, K. Takano, and Y. Yamanaka. 1995. Rapid determination of Mwp from broadband P waveforms. Bulletin of the Seismology Society of America 85(2):606-613.

5. Ishii, M., P.M. Shearer, H. Houston, and J.E. Vidale. 2006. Teleseismic P wave imaging of the 26 December 2004 Sumatra-Andaman and 28 March 2005 Sumatra earthquake ruptures using the Hi-net array. Journal Geophysical Research 112:B11307.

6. Whitmore, P.M., T.J. Sokolowski, S. Tsuboi, and B. Hirshorn. 2002. Magnitude-dependent correction for Mwp. Science of Tsunami Hazards 20(4):187-192.

7. Kanamori, H. and L. Rivera. 2008. Source inversion of W phase: Speeding up seismic tsunami warning. Geophysical Journal International 175(1):222-238.

8. Zumberge, M., J. Berger, J. Otero, and E. Weilandt. 2010. An optical seismometer without force feedback. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 100(2):598-605.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement