|Observatories and Research Facilities for EUropean Seismology|
|Volume 1, no 2||April 1999||Orfeus Newsletter|
EDUSEIS, An EDUcational SEISmological European NetworkJean Virieux
The rapid growth of digital electronics is just as quickly revolutionisin= g scientific practice, though, even among scientists, there are few who really appreciate how fundamental this revolution is. Technology is being driven more by an economic impetus than by the need to solve important problems - be they scientific or social - and scientists often have had to become reactive rather than proactive to technology.
This, of course, is even more true for the educational environment. While industry debates the launching of communication systems comprising hundreds of satellites, and the Internet is soon likely to become to the average household what the telephone is now, teachers have obvious difficulty to adapt. This is, in particular, true for secondary education. Many schools now offer basic courses in the use of computers, word processing packages, or even simple programming languages. But does this give the students a sense of how chemistry, physics, biology are affected by the digital revolution? Does it give the students an idea of the power of information technology? Since the latter can be used and misused, the health of our democratic societies may ultimately depend on how well we teach our children to cope with information technology.
A second fundamental change is the rapid growth of multidisciplinary studies of the environment. Increased population density has made natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and hurricanes more costly both in terms of human life and in terms of economic damage.
How the education system should react to such changes is not very clear. Some aspects have hardly even been debated. Meanwhile, the gap between what is taught in schools and what is done in the real world is growing rather than diminishing. This is a dangerous situation. An under-educated population is at the mercy of those who control the information technology.
Our experimental project will make students active participants rather than passive consumers and the selected vehicle for such training is seismological observation, which offers a number of clear advantages: earthquakes are spectacular and 'in the news', hence likely to attract the attention of the students; the digital observation of seismic waves involves large quantities of data but not so large that it cannot be handled by personal computers of the type now acquired by many schools; the development of cheaper instrumentation now allows schools to participate actively in data acquisition, using the Internet to share data; the analysis of seismograms involves many sciences, and may be illustrative in classes of physics, mathematics, geography, geology, and social science.
PEPP in United States of America and EduSeis in Europe are based on recent development of new technologies which allow the use of high quality and low-cost seismic instrumentation in schools. The construction of the project EduSeis is different from the American PEPP experience on many aspects related to the social differences one can find between Europe and USA.
Involving the high schools in management of seismic network according to the different school orientation will lead to the creation of a dense network of seismic "observatories" which will increase the data available for research in the field of Earth Science. This work will result to be extremely interesting and useful to the social and scientific community.
Thus, the project has a remarkable impact on the prevention of the seismic risk, through a strong effect of awakening and involvement of the schools, of the general public in museums; of students, teachers and their families. Although in Europe and, in particular in the Mediterranean area, the risk of strong earthquakes exists, the politics of information and awakening to the seismic prevention are still insufficient in comparison with analogous initiatives undertaken in other seismic regions in the world (such as for example Japan, Western United States).
b) Promotion of news technologies in schools.
c) Promotion of experimental sciences in schools.
d) Managing the complexity of natural phenomenon through an interdisciplinary approach.
e) Teaching young people the sense of responsibility and working in group
f) Construction of a partnership between regional and international institutions in the field of scientific research, education and awareness
Figure 1 : Regional link between stations in schools and the regional center for the EduSeis network
We have selected broadband sensors as the Guralp or the PMD. They are sensors selected by PEPP but our management is entirely different. These instruments have a flat response between 30 s and 0.2 s (Figure 2)
These sensors provide an electric signal which is digitized by a computer card (PC-NUM) plugged into a personal computer which is the cheapest controlling system one can think about. The card has been developped by Agecodagis and it is based on HARRIS HI7190 24 bits converters. This card includes a GPS Rockwell minicard for the absolute time recording, an essential critical data for seismic analysis. Careful handling of time is performed for an accuracy lower than 1 msec. Data are recorded locally in a cyclic buffer with an autonomy of around 15 days.
Figure 2 : Different elements of the seismic station for the CIV school in France. The sensor on the left, the recording station in the middle and the GPS antenna on the right.
This seismic station is linked by a modem with standard telephone line to the PC-CONTROL. This PC-CONTROL is on the Internet and collects information of world-wide seismic events from observatories. From the distance between the seismic event and the seismic school station, a post-triggering is performed automatically with a time window extracted at the station depending on the magnitude of the event. These signals are retrieved from each station during the night and converted to a standard SAC format. This format is used for plotting the signal through any browser which can handle Java language. Conversion into the PEPP format is also performed and these files are provided through ftp for local applications in any school connected to the Internet.
Alpes Maritimes, Languedoc-Roussillon as well as Napoli area. Two examples are shown for a regional event and a teleseismic event. Other examples are freely availble at ther WEB sites.
Figure 3 : Seismic event located in the Genova Golf.