Sample QDDS and QDM Application -- Seismic/Eruption

Alan Jones, SUNY Binghamton

January 19, 2000


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 (Quake Data Distribution System) and QDM (Quake Data Merge), you can keep the database up-to-date to within a few minutes or a few hours. You must use a PC attached to the Internet running Windows 95, 98, or NT.

QDDS is used to send earthquake information in near-real time from seismic networks to QDDS hubs. The hubs send these events to attached leaves. One problem with this is that the same event may be sent from more than one network, particularly if the event is near the border of network's region. QDM solves this problem by using a set of criteria to created a merged catalog.

This application uses the merged catalog, a file called merge.nts, to update Seismic/Eruption's database. After an event is used by QDM it is sent to Seismic/Eruption where, if it is above a user-setable threshhold, it is displayed on the screen and a banner is displayed at the top which contains the event's parameters: date, time, latitute, longitude, depth, magnitude.

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 QDDSand QDM.
  3. Install Seismic/Eruption from:

    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.

    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. Run the seismain.exe (Maintenance) program from Windows. It is in the Seismology Group. Do the following:

    Alerts/Seismic Networks
    Archive file: ALL.TXT (Logged events go here)
    Default hypocenter file: WORLD.HY4
    Default magnitude alert threshold: 2.0
    (or whatever)
    Alert Window: 24 hours (or whatever)
    (Set the directory where Seismic will look for the merged file)
    Alerts/Merge File


    (Now set the poll directory where Seismic will look for individual events:)
    Alerts/Poll Directory


  6. Set up QDDS. In the QDDS folder:
  7. Setup QDM. In the QDM folder:
  8. Start up QDDS from a DOS box:

    cd \QDDS
    java -jar QDDS.jar

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

    14:40:31: Alive message # 11042 from

    When an event arrives, you'll see a message something like:

    14:41:40: msg # 11043 from ->out.7652

    Check to see if the events are ending up in the QDM\polldir directory. If they are, you can start up QDM.

  9. Start of QDM from a DOS box:

    java -jar QDM.jar

    You should see messages that report that QDM is processing the files in its polldir. Check to see that files are being created in the catalog directory. If they are, you can start up Seismic/Eruption.
  10. Start up Seismic/Eruption. With 15 seconds or so you should see a pop-up box on the right side of the screen announcing that the database has been updated. To verify this, run the slider at the bottom of the screen to the right and used the single-step forward and back to see if there are recent events. Another check is to go to the menu item Earthquakes/Edit Earthquake File and see if there are new events at the end.

    When an event arrives within 24 hours (default value) of the current time and more than the cutoff magnitude, you should see an arrow pointing to the event on the screen and a yellow banner at the top of the screen which contains the code for the network, the date, time, latitude, longitude, depth, and magnitude.

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.

Running just QDDS or just QDM

Although the above description tells how to run QDDS and QDM together to receive recent events as alerts and to update the database with duplicates removed, you can run QDDS by itself and make its output directory Seismic/Eruption's polldir. Likewise, if you don't want the alerts appearing on the screen, but do want the database updated, just turn off the poll directory on the Seismic/Eruption Alert/Poll Directory.


  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/Eruption. I don't see this problem. If he uses the mode "Run free" this doesn't happen.