Capturing, Preserving, and Digitizing Legacy Seismic Data from the Montserrat Volcano Observatory Analog Seismic Network, July 1995–December 2004

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An eruption of the Soufrière Hills Volcano (SHV) on the eastern Caribbean island of Montserrat began on 18 July 1995 and continued until February 2010. Within nine days of the eruption onset, an existing four‐station analog seismic network (ASN) was expanded to 10 sites. Telemetered data from this network were recorded, processed, and archived locally using a system developed by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP). In October 1996, a digital seismic network (DSN) was deployed with the ability to capture larger amplitude signals across a broader frequency range. These two networks operated in parallel until December 2004, with separate telemetry and acquisition systems (analysis systems were merged in March 2001). Although the DSN provided better quality data for research, the ASN featured superior real‐time monitoring tools and captured valuable data including the only seismic data from the first 15 months of the eruption. These successes of the ASN have been rather overlooked. This article documents the evolution of the ASN, the VDAP system, the original data captured, and the recovery and conversion of more than 230,000 seismic events from legacy SUDS, Hypo71, and Seislog formats into Seisan database with waveform data in miniSEED format. No digital catalog existed for these events, but students at the University of South Florida have classified two‐thirds of the 40,000 events that were captured between July 1995 and October 1996. Locations and magnitudes were recovered for ~10,000 of these events. Real‐time seismic amplitude measurement, seismic spectral amplitude measurement, and tiltmeter data were also captured. The result is that the ASN seismic dataset is now more discoverable, accessible, and reusable, in accordance with FAIR data principles. These efforts could catalyze new research on the 1995–2010 SHV eruption. Furthermore, many observatories have data in these same legacy data formats and might benefit from procedures and codes documented here.

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Seismological Research Letters, v. 91, issue 4, p. 2127-2140