ISTI Presenting at SSA, 18-20 April 2017

SSA 2017ISTI is presenting  at the Seismological Society of America Annual Meeting, being held in Denver, Colorado, 18 – 20 April 2017.  The ISTI presenters welcome anyone attending the SSA annual meeting to stop by and chat with them.

View the ISTI poster schedule and abstract links below.

Ben Baker & Josh Stachnik, Presented by Ben Baker An Alternate Noise Parameterization for Moment Tensor Estimation Tues., 18 April TBA – Poster #8
Ben Baker (ISTI) & Steven W. Roecker, (RPI), Presented by Steven W. Roecker The Lower Crust and Upper Mantle Beneath the Tien Shan from Full Waveform Tomography Wed.,  19 April TBA – Poster #8
Paul Friberg & Ilya Dricker (ISTI), Maria Kozlowska & Michael Brudzinski (Miami Univ.), Presented by Ilya Dricker 2016 Observations and Mitigation Strategies for Hydraulic Fracture Induced Seismicity Wed.,  19 April TBA – Poster #6


ISTI to Present at DAVOS 2017

Schatzalp_Cover_2017Stop by and chat with ISTI CEO and founder, Paul Friberg at the Schatzalp Workshop this March.

ISTI is pleased to be presenting in Davos 14-17 March 2017 at the Schatzalp Workshop on Induced Seismicity. ISTI CEO and founder, Paul Friberg will be presenting 2016 Hydraulic Fracture Induced Earthquakes in Ohio.  The abstract may be found on page 53 of the abstract book here.
The workshop program may be found here.

Paul invites any attending the Schatzalp Workshop to stop by and chat with him.

Spring 2017 EW Course

I just took the week long ISTI EW class, as the saying goes, ‘like drinking from a firehose’ it was a fun and rewarding week. I learned a lot! – Angel Rodriguez

2017 Earthworm Course in Saratoga Springs, NY, June 5-9

This June 5 through June 9, ISTI will host another of our popular Earthworm training courses in Saratoga Springs, New York. Earthworm is the popular open source regional earthquake data acquisition and location processing system. Originally developed by the USGS, it is now maintained and moved forward by a group of developers that ISTI organizes.

In the course, we will be providing an expert’s insight into the system. You will learn tricks and tips from our decades of experience operating and programming Earthworm. You will learn how to set up regional automatic earthquake detection with the latest release of Earthworm.

This course will be useful to anyone setting up, managing, tuning, or developing for an Earthworm system.

Read more here.

Insurance of Seismic Monitoring

ISTI CEO, Paul Friberg, monitors seismic activity for a client from his office.

ISTI CEO, Paul Friberg, monitors seismic activity for a client from his office.

With increased regulations to strengthen the monitoring of seismic activity in the U.S. and abroad, companies using hydraulic fracturing face risk of well closure if they do not employ effective monitoring.  Two U.S. companies are rising to the challenge.  Armed with a team of experts in using the U.S. Government’s EarthWorm Seismic Monitoring system and coupled with proprietary techniques, ISTI and its partner HMSC Inc equips companies with Geobit instruments to meet their exploration and regulatory monitoring needs.

img_2988b“If you are completing a hydraulic fracture well in a region where there is potential to induce seismicity,” says CEO and Senior Seismologist Paul Friberg, “ISTI can help to try and prevent you from getting shut-down by using seismic monitoring to alert you as events start to appear or get larger. The insurance of monitoring is far cheaper than the cost of temporary shut-in or worse.”  ISTI uses HMSC Inc to deploy the Geobit equipment in the field for each client (photos at bottom).  The seismic equipment collects critical data, which is then transmitted to ISTI’s seismologists and software to model and interpret.  The team then configures and maintains continuous real-time monitoring systems.  ISTI is not new to this science by any means, boasting over 20 years real-time seismic monitoring.  Customers include some of the largest research institutions, NGOs and E&P companies doing cutting edge work.

The trend of companies, strategically hiring teams of experts such as ISTI, has grown with increasing regulations.  It is vital for those positioned in states like Oklahoma and Ohio, for example, to satisfy fracking regulations in order to operate.  In Ohio, a seismic monitoring plan is required for any horizontal well drilled within 3 miles of either a known fault in the Precambrian basement or a seismic event greater than 2 magnitude that occurred since 1999.  Completion activities are required to stop if an event as low as 2.0M is detected, threatening their project deadlines.  600 miles away, in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Geological Survey is meeting an anticipation of increased operations with guidelines focused on hydraulic fracturing. Mitigation procedures are required of businesses for magnitudes as low as 2.5M within 1.25 miles of hydro-fracking sites.  Companies face suspension of operations at 3.5M.

With such increased governance, penalties and even press exposure, it is in the best interest of hydraulic fracturing or waste water injection firms to gain greater intelligence on seismic activity.   ISTI’s services have already provided valuable data to operators of injection wells and producers in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Utica shale-play regions.  ISTI’s data can be monitored by any mobile device, and email or text alerts are sent when a seismic event is triggered, or equipment malfunctions. Such detection can provide operators with the knowledge necessary to help minimize risks and economical losses.  Sometimes, this can be accomplished by making simple adjustments to pumping rates and pressure that might otherwise have resulted in large


The field crew’s view when looking back from a day’s work installing equipment for a customer.

activity. Knowing that they have made a positive difference for both the environment and for each customer’s business, ISTI staff can look back on their days’ work and feel good.




ISTI Presents at AGU in San Francisco, December 2016

agu-poster-dec-2016-grid-search-approachISTI is presenting  at the AGU Fall Meeting being held in San Francisco, 12-16 December 2016. In addition, ISTI welcomes you to visit our team at our AGU exhibit (booth 1115) throughout the week.

View the ISTI poster schedule and abstract links below.

Paul A Friberg (w/ Hawaiian Volcano Observatory presenters) S23C-2791: Modernization of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Seismic Processing Infrastructure Tues., 13 Dec. 13:40 – 18:00
Ilya Dricker (w/CTBTO presenters) S31A-2696: IMS Seismic and Infrasound Stations Instrumental Challenges Wed.,  14 Dec. 08:00 – 12:20
Ben Baker (w/Univ. of Washington and USGS presenters) S31C-2781: Refined modeling of Seattle basin amplification Wed.,  14 Dec. 08:00 – 12:20
Kirill Khrustalev S31A-2691: Improvements in Calibration and Analysis of the CTBT-relevant Radioxenon Isotopes with High Resolution SiPIN-based Electron Detectors Wed.,  14 Dec. 08:00 – 12:20
Josh Stachnick & Ben Baker (w/CTBTO presenter) S31A-2704: An Improved Method for Seismic Event Depth and Moment Tensor Determination: CTBT Related Application Wed.,  14 Dec. 08:00 – 12:20
Josh Stachnick & Ben Baker   (w/ JAMSTEC and CTBTO presenters) S33E-05: Synthetic seismograms of Jan. 6, 2016 DPRK event calculated by the Earth Simulator Wed.,  14 Dec. 15:18 – 15:33
Paul A Friberg S43C-2888: 2016 Hydrofracture Induced Earthquakes in Ohio Thurs., 15 Dec. 13:40 – 18:00
Paul A Friberg, Josh Stachnick & Ben Baker S51E-3176: Moment Tensor Estimation using a Grid-Search approach for the Pawnee, Oklahoma Mw 5.8 Earthquake Fri.,      16 Dec. 08:00 – 12:20

*All take place at Moscone South, Poster Hall


ISTI is also mentioned in the LASSO poster for the software we developed for IRIS.


ISTI presents at the EGU in Vienna and SSA in Reno

ISTI is one of 4 sponsors for the SSA meeting being held in Reno Nevada this week, April 20-22, 2016. With HMSC we are co-sponsoring the annual luncheon on Wednesday.

ISTI’s Paul Friberg is presenting in the induced seismicity session at 8:30AM on Wednesday. The abstract for Paul’s talk can be reached via the link below.


We are also present at the EGU meeting in Vienna. Meet up with Josh Stachnik in Vienna at the EGU this week where he is co-author on a poster on Nuclear Test Depth Determination with Synthetic Modelling: Global Analysis from PNEs to DPRK-2016.

FAQ About North Korea’s Claims that it Detonated a Nuclear Bomb

Questions and Answers About North Korea’s Claims that it Detonated a Nuclear Bomb

How does one measure the size of a nuclear or hydrogen bomb explosion?
The size of any seismic event is determined from the amplitude of the waves recorded at stations of varying distance from the event.  The seismic magnitude is determined independent of the source type. The absolute amplitude of arriving body waves and surfaces waves are needed to determine the size of the event.  The Earth also modifies the seismic waves as they travel from the source to each receiver, so some information about Earth structure is also needed.  One of the largest pieces to determining the size or yield of an explosion is the depth of the event.  This key piece of information is used in converting seismic magnitude to the amount of explosive material needed to make a potential bomb.

What are the tell tale signs?
Man-made explosions are detonated very close to the Earth surface.  Seismically, this means that certain seismic surface waves should be recorded and, in contrast, certain seismic “depth” phases are not likely to be present in the seismograms.  Depth phases are upgoing waves that bounce off the Earth’s surface and are accurate indicators of the source event depth. In addition, explosive sources produce a different signal which is outward everywhere. This is different than earthquakes which are sliding motions on faults where motions will be different depending on where the observation is made.

When will experts be able to confirm what actually happened?
As soon as possible. Ok, the seismic component of the forensics is probably the most straightforward.  All the seismic data are in-hand and agencies are working on the determining the depth of the event to better estimate the yield (kilotons).  The noble gas and radionuclide airborne detectors will be the most key in determining the exact nature of the explosion, whether it is really a thermonuclear event or not.  This analysis should be complete within a few days.  Other news agencies have been reporting that some countries will be doing air surveys to collect more data.  In the end, it’s likely that no single agency will possess all the available data on this event.  Each country and agency determines what happened based on the information they have available.  Not everybody shares well.

If it wasn’t a hydrogen bomb, what was it?

The explosion measures [5.1] on the Richter scale, that is the equivalent of about 10 kilotons of TNT (smaller than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima during WWII). The seismic impact of a Hydrogen bomb likely would be much bigger, so there is legitimate doubt about what actually took place. It’s possible the bomb tested was relatively small, failed, or that the explosion was created with chemical explosives, or conventional atomic bomb. It’s difficult to say what type of bomb it was from the seismic signal and more in-depth analysis of potential radionuclides that escaped from the blast could tell.

How many seismic events around the world raise legitimate concern of nuclear or hydrogen explosion on a yearly basis? Is this number rising or falling or staying constant?

There have been well upwards of 2,000 nuclear explosions recorded since 1945. North Korea is believed to have detonated nuclear bombs in four separate tests since 2006. Other nations are believed to be building or maintaining undisclosed nuclear programs like North Korea’s, but the number of measureable tests associated with these programs is irregular.


2016 Nuclear Test in North Korea is studied by ISTI seismologists

ISTI is currently working on projects with researchers in the field of Nuclear Test monitoring to study the Magnitude (Mb)  5.1 event in North Korea  (also known as the DPRK) this morning.  This is the fourth such event in North Korea. ISTI’s seismologists provide research tools to scientists trying to discriminate between nuclear and chemical blasts, induced earthquakes, and tectonic (or natural) earthquakes. Contact ISTI for more details on our research activities.

To learn more about the North Korean test visit these public links from some of our customers:

CA Dept of Water Resources upgraded to AQMS

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) had ISTI upgrade their windows-based Earthworm system to AQMS this past week. The new system consists of 2 virtual machine Linux-based Earthworm seismic acquisition and processing systems with Winston Wave Servers and 2 AQMS post-processing computers (also virtualized and running Linux). The use of ISTI’s EZW tool allows DWR to easily configure and maintain the virtualized Earthworm systems. In addition, the entire Water Resources (WR) network is now monitored by SeisNetWatch and has been made more redundant with hot swap-able acquisition computers.

DWR_upgrade2 DWR_upgrade1