Data Services Newsletter

Volume 20 : No 1 : Spring 2018

Iraqi Broadband Seismic Network

The Department of Geology, University of Baghdad, started seismic monitoring in Iraq in 1972 using mobile 3-component short period analog recording equipment (TELEDYNE SYSTEM). Most of this recording was for graduate students’ research. In 1976 the Foundation of Scientific Research (later Scientific Research Council-SRC) established the Seismological Unit as a dedicated independent seismological center to coordinate earthquake monitoring in Iraq. The Iraq Seismic Network (ISN) was proposed in the late 1970s and became operational in the early 1980s. The plan included the installation of analog short-period stations in Baghdad, Mosul, Rutbah, and Basra. All stations were installed and became operational in the early I980’s, except the Basra station which was never materialized. These stations continued monitoring until 1991 after which half of them ceased to operate. Recording and reporting of seismic data has been intermittent, leading to a large gap in seismic data collection in the region. Also due to a long period of isolation, seismology research in Iraq became stagnant or lacked advancement.

After 2003, Haydar Al-Shukri and Hanan Mahdi of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) initiated a collaborative project with Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) to restart the seismology research and monitoring in Iraq. The project was initially supported by funding from the National Science Foundation, US DoE, and UA Little Rock and included the installation of two broadband stations in Baghdad and Mosul. It also included training and capacity building for research and infrastructure.

In 2007, Al-Shukri and Mahdi collaborated with the University of Duhok in northern Iraq to install a broadband seismic station (DHK1) on the university campus. This station located within the seismically active zone, which represents the continental-continental collision boundary between the Arabian and Eurasian plates (Figure 1). During 2014 and 2015 period, five more broadband seismic stations and two strong motion stations were installed. This includes Basra (BSR2), Nasiriya (NSR4), Ammarah (AMR2), Karbala (KAR2), and Sulaymaniyah (SYL1). The 2 strong motion stations were collocated with BSR2 and SYL1 broadband stations. Table 1 lists the coordinates for these six stations. And Figure 1 represents the location map.

During the period of 2013-2014, and in collaboration with LLNL, a seven-element high-frequency three-component array installed in Al-Rifai area about 240 kilometers southeast Baghdad, Iraq. The area experienced a swarm of moderate size earthquakes. Many of the earthquakes that were strongly felt by the area’s residences were not reported by any agency except a few that were strong enough to cause some structural damage.

Since 2014, LLNL financially supported the operation of the seismic stations, data analysis and archiving, capacity building, training and research, and public education and community outreach.

At the end of 2017, IRIS Data Services provided five Guralp 3ESP broadband seismometers, a PowerEdge R815 DELL server, and one-year support for bringing 4 broadband stations online. UA Little Rock team fitted three of these seismometers with Guralp DM24 digitizers and GPS antennas to produce three new stations. These in addition to another two (provided by UA Little Rock) will be the 2018 expansion to the monitoring system in Iraq. Also four of the broadband stations (BSR2, NSR4, AMR2, and KAR2) are currently sending real-time data to IRIS DMC.

Table 1. Coordinates for the current MP, Iraq, Broadband stations.

Station Names Lat. Log.
NSR1 31.7416 46.1151
NSR4 31.53996 46.20158
AMR2 31.9899 47.1902
BSR2 30.2927 47.6191
KAR2 32.5398 44.0224
SLY1 35.5784 45.3667
DHK1 36.8606 42.8665

NSR1 relocated to NSR4 in 10/2017

Figure 1
Figure 1: Location map of the Iraqi (MP) broadband stations. Current stations, red triangles, and future expansion, yellow stars

by Haydar Al-Shukri (1) , Hanan Mahdi (1) , Wathiq Abdulnaby (2) , Najah Abd (3) , Ali Ramthan (2) , Omar Ahmed (4) , Nazar Numan (5) and Rengin Gok (6)

  • (1) University of Arkansas
  • (2) University of Basra
  • (3) University of Baghdad
  • (4) University of Sulaymaniyah
  • (5) University of Duhok
  • (6) LLNL