click for CalTech website

June 29, 2006

On June 29, 2006 the Caltech Seismological Laboratory's newly remodeled Earthquake Media Center held its opening ceremonies for the media and Dell, Inc. Dr. Jeroen Tromp, McMillan Professor of Geophysics and Director of the Seismology Lab, presided over the presentations. Included in the presentations was information on Caltech's newly developed ShakeMovies, which are near real-time simulations of Southern California seismic events rendered in a 3D model. These movies
are created from simulations carried out on a large computer cluster built in the sub-basement of the seismology lab. The parallel processing computer cluster contains 512 dual quad core processors, is one of the fastest computers in academia, and one of the top 500 fastest computers in the world. The computer models seismic waves using data from digital seismograms and information on ground structure and outputs a movie showing ground displacement. New ShakeMovies can be found at within 45 minutes of a M4+ earthquake in Southern California.
The wall of seismic drums has disappeared to make room for new state-of-the-art technology. In their place is a nine panel, 10' by 6' video wall provided by Dell Corporation that can display new graphics such as ShakeMovies or a number of graphics simultaneously. "Seismographical technology has vastly improved to the point that within less than an hour we can now create an animation of seismic waves radiating out from the epicenter on a topographical map," states Dr. Jeroen Tromp, director of the Caltech Seismological Laboratory and McMillan Professor of Geophysics.
When an earthquake occurs in Southern California, thousands of seismograpms are recorded at hundreds of seismic stations. Digital waveforms are generated which are more accurate and reliable than their predecessors produced on paper by the seismic drums.
The focus of this media event was to demonstrate the new graphics and technology that will be available for use by the media in the event of an earthquake briefing.

The Caltech Seismological Laboratory would like to thank the following Earthquake Research Affiliates who contributed their financial and technical assistance during the past year to help make the Media Center and ShakeMovie projects sucessful:

  • KCBS2
  • KNBC4 News
  • KABC7 News
  • KTLA 5
  • KTTV Fox 11 News

More Images: Click on each to see them larger.

Kate Hutton adresses the audience.

Under construction.


Who We Are  
ERA Activities
Seismology Links
Contact Us