Sample Application -- Seismic/Eruption

Alan Jones, SUNY Binghamton


Seismic/Eruption is a Windows program which shows seismicity in speeded-up time. It has a database of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions from 1960 to near the present. Via QDDS, you can keep the database up-to-date to, depending on the quality of events sent, within a few minutes or a few hours. You must use a PC attached to the Internet running Windows 95 or 98.

Installation Instructions

  1. Do a default install of Java run time environment for Windows version 1.2 or later from the Sun Web site:

    The run time environment allows you to run Java programs but not compile them from source code. If you think you will be modifying the Java code, you will need the Java Development Kit which is also available from the Sun Web site.

  2. Install Seismic/Eruption from my home page:

    Look for seisvole.exe and do a default installation. If you already have Seismic/Eruption, the new version can be installed "over" the older version.

  3. Run Seismic/Eruption to make sure things are okay. To verify that Seismic/Eruption can find things on the Internet, try to update the hypocenter databases:

    Options/Update hypocenters via Internet

    This should bring your hypocenter databases up-to-date to within the last hour or so.

  4. Close Seismic/Eruption

  5. Create a new sub-directory under seisvole called polldir.

  6. Run the seismain.exe (Maintenance) program from Windows. It is in the Seismology folder. Do the following:
    Alerts/Seismic Networks
    Archive file: ALL.TXT  (Logged events go here)
    Default hypocenter file: WORLD.HY3 (Put events here
       that don't have a network code we recognize.)
    Default magnitude alert threshold: 2.0 (or whatever)
    (Now set the poll directory where Seismic will look
      for events:)
    Alerts/Poll Directory
  7. Edit comm.lst and remove all but the first, comment, line. Add lines, one for each hub, like: hub Menlo Park hub

    The password is the only element that you change. Both the hub and the leaf have to be the same password. Be sure you can ping the machines or the numeric IP addresses will have to be used. You don't have to use the same password for connections to both hubs. In fact, it is better if you don't since you will see the password appear on messages and, by having distinct ones, it will be easier to determine which hub it came from. The IP address also appears so you can use this but it is less confusing if you use different passwords.

    The 2222 is the default port address that QDDS uses. However, any port number above 1000 can be used.

    Send this information to Alan Jones or David Oppenheimer providing the IP address of your node so it can be put into the hub's comm.lst. Please provide hostname in text and numeric form in case the text form doesn't work.

  8. Edit the file QDDS.Config which should look like the example above except for the line:
    OUTPUT DIRECTORY: C:/SeisVolE/polldir

    This makes the events sent to the PC QDDS leaf end up in a directory that the Seismic program can find.

    Don't worry about forward slashes vs backward slashes. Java takes care of this according to what system it is on.

    Be sure you have a directory "polldir" under SeisVolE.

  9. Start up QDDS from a DOS box:

    cd \QDDS
    java -jar QDDS.jar

    Every 15 seconds you should see a line:

    Files in spool:

    meaning that there are no events to process. You won't get this message if you are a transient leaf.

    Every few minutes you should see an "alive" message line like.

    QDDS receives events from hubs via UDP. It then stuffs them into the OUTPUT DIRECTORY which should be:


  10. To test if QDDS is working before you start up Seismic, you will find one-line files with events in the QDDS directory called event.1, event.2, etc.

    Copy event.1 into qdds/polldir.

    Within 15 seconds you should see:

    Files in spool: event.1

    In another 10 to 20 seconds, you should see a message on your Java screen saying that an event was received. Go look in the


    and see if the event is there. If it is, you are ready to start up Seismic. If it is not there, then some debugging is required.

  11. Start up Seismic. Go to, say, the California view and start throwing events at it by copying files event.* to qdds\polldir. (Be sure to cross your fingers.)

    When Seismic finds an event in c:\seisvole\polldir it causes an alarm to fire if the event is large enough, and in any case, adds it to the specified .hy3 file. The event file is then erased from c:\seisvole\polldir.

    There are lots of controls in Seismic under Control to alter the speed of the display or do make it loop. You might want to use Control/Set Dates and put a loop time like 90 days in there to keep it looping over the last 90 days.

There, nothing to it!


  1. John Lahr has found that if he runs in the mode "Run free with auto restart" (under Control/Mode) that Seismic crashes with an out of memory message when he minimizes Seismic. I don't see this problem. If he uses the mode "Run free" this doesn't happen.