DATABASE: When the Earth Moved

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Science  26 Aug 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5739, pp. 1307
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5739.1307b

The 1964 Great Alaska earthquake toppled buildings in Anchorage, 120 kilometers from the epicenter, and touched off a 67-meter-high tsunami that killed 110 people. The database SeismoArchives houses recordings of the magnitude-9.2 temblor, the second largest of the 20th century, and 25 other “classic” quakes.

The goal of the clearinghouse, a new offering from the seismology consortium IRIS (Science, 26 November 1999, p. 1643), is to cache digital versions of deteriorating paper and microfilm seismograms. The hundreds of original recordings in the archive come from researchers and span nearly 70 years of ground shaking, from the 1906 Valparaiso, Chile, quake to the 1972 Managua, Nicaragua, disaster. Earth scientists who want to analyze the events can download high-resolution images of seismograms captured by stations around the world.

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