EDINBURGH, Scotland, Aug. 20 (UPI) — European scientists say a new computer tool will help them understand how earthquakes travel in the Earth’s structure and cause damage.
Seismologists measure vibrations in the Earth at hundreds of observatories across Europe. By recording the speed and strength of the vibrations at different sites, they can understand the type of ground they have traveled through, researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland said.
Seismic data from across Europe is available for analysis through Web sites such as the Earthquake Data Portal, but only a few organizations have the computer resources and technical know-how needed to process this vast store of data.
A group called Rapid, composed of computer scientists at the university, has come to the rescue.
The Rapid team developed a Web portal to “overlay” the data portal. This takes all the complex computing needed for seismic analysis and hides it behind a standard Web browser.
With all of the analysis tools presented in such a familiar environment, they say, any seismologist — even the most technophobic ones — can use the system.
Researchers say the Rapid Web portal allows even the smallest seismology groups to perform the kind of analysis previously limited to organizations that could afford their own supercomputers.
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