Illustrated History of the Seismometer Systems, 2004 to 2007:

The IRIS affiliation


Moravian College became an Educational Affiliate with the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS). The IRIS web site ( is a great source of information about current seismisity for the whole earth. Moravian purchased from IRIS an AS-1 vertical, short-period seismometer and joined the network of educational institutions that used this instrument. The Moravian call symbol was MCPA.

Mike Sands and I published an article, "Online Near-Real-Time Seismic System for the Classroom," in the March, 2004, issue of the Journal of Geoscience Education.   Click here to see the text of the article. For much of the spring 2004 semester, I worked at creating a seismic system composed of four Teledyne Geotech BB-13 seismometers.  The Teledyne Geotech BB-13 seismometers have a broadband response.  They have built-in supporting electronics and can be used in either the horizontal or vertical configurations.  The BB-13's were intended to supplement, not replace, the present home-made four-seismometer seismic system.

David Skoupil and his student, Michal Andrysek, in the Czech Republic have improved their rewritten version of the SIMA code and, with this version of the code, were able to monitor on the same screen (in the Czech Republic) the two signals from Kean University and the four from Moravian College.  To help with the ongoing software development project by David and Michal, I constructed a seismic "kicker" which each hour gives a well-defined, abrupt, predictable motion to the arm of the horizontal seismometer that resided in my laboratory/classroom.  This impulse was for developmental purposes only; it was discontinued when it was no longer needed.

Michal visited Moravian College during the Spring semester of 2005 for a two week period, at which time we refined the code and connected the four Teledyne Geotech BB-13 seismometers to a Dataq 158 A/D interface (a $100 item).  We were able to make available on our web site the revised and improved software that accomplishes everything the original SIMA code does, with some additional functionality as well.   It too was free.  It was able to be downloaded from the following URL:, altough the site was only maintained for about two years. We called this improved software SIMA2. We installed a new computer at Moravian College to function as an additional server on our SIMA2 system. The new SIMA2 system received seismometer inputs from the TINI (suitable for only long-period seismometers) and/or the Dataq A/D (suitable for all seismometers). The Dataq was less expensive and easier, but we continued to support the TINI for historic reasons and because its response is very robust.

This new SIMA2 software allowed the retrieval of historic seismic data from the SIMA2 server, which in the summer of 2005 was moved from the Czech Republic to Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA, USA.  If at that time you wished to test the retrieval function of this system, you could have retrieved historic data from any recent earthquake. We suggested, as a test of the system, downloading the data from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake of 2004/12/26 that occurred off the coast of Sumatra at 00:58:53 UTC; this earthquake created an interesting record at Moravian starting about 01:20:00 UTC.  Although this earthquake record at Moravian lasted more than two hours, we recommend downloading only about a half-hour of data at a time.  
Here were the instructions that we gave at that time: go to and click on “Client” in the “Client download section”. After you install and run the program, go to the “Sima Servers/Add” menu and enter  “”. Then, go to “Trace Panels/New Panel”, choose the Servers tag and hit refresh. Select traces you want to see and  hit OK. It's quite simple after you get used to it. As mentioned previously, the netquake web site is no longer maintained, so the software is no longer available.

We delighted in a particular capability of our new SIMA2 system: the AS-1 amplifier had an unused BND connector on its top that can be employed to directly input into a Dataq A/D (available for as little as $25) without affecting the output signal of the AS-1, and the computer that ran the AS-1 software to display the AS-1 signal in real time can simultaneously broadcast the AS-1 signal to SIMA2 server. The same SIMA2 software can display its own signal and the signals from any number of other AS-1 seismometers that are similarly connected to that or any other SIMA2 servers. The only cost is the Dataq unit, because the computer (Windows XP or later is recommended) is needed for the AS-1 hardware and software, and the new SIMA2 software was free. Thus, the AS-1 could have all its capabilities and be integrated into a system of similar seismometers that operated in near-real-time. All of this could happen at almost no cost.

We were interested in having others with seismometers, whether home-made or professionally manufactured, join our small seismic Internet broadcasting network.  We shifted completely from the older SIMA code to the newer SIMA2 code; the original code was still available (at but was no longer being supported by us.

    See seismograph reference page for complete bibliographic information about articles mentioned in the above descriptions.

Click here for a link to the system of four long-period seismometers (three in the basement and one in the classroom) that were broadcasting on the SIMA2 system via the TINI interface. A listing of the properties of each, as well as the pair of seismometers at Kean University, were found at the following URL: