Data Services Products: ESEC-Contribution Guide ESEC - Event Contribution Guidelines


ESEC is a compilation of data on non-earthquake seismic sources such as landslides, debris flows, dam collapses, floods, and avalanches that generate seismic signals but are rarely included in common earthquake catalogs. This catalog is designed to allow new entries as information regarding new recent and historic events becomes available. We strongly encourage contributions to ESEC catalog. If you are interested in becoming a contributor to this catalog, please follow the guidelines provided on this page.


New entries can be added to the database as information regarding new recent or historic events becomes available. Researchers and monitoring networks are encouraged to contribute events. Minimum criteria for inclusion require that the event:

  1. has a confirmed seismic detection on at least one seismic station with reasonable certainty
  2. has a known location, preferably based on visual confirmation but seismic locations are also acceptable if the location uncertainty is well quantified

However, events for which more detailed information such as photos, maps, reports, imagery, and media reports are preferred, and these data should also be included when possible. Events are ranked in the database, assigned values from 1 to 5 indicating the maximum quality of data available for the event. The rankings are as follows:

  1. Seismic detection but no visual documentation
  2. Photographic documentation
  3. Media reports, non-peer reviewed scientific reports, and/or inclusion in broad peer-reviewed scientific study (i.e. not event-specific).
  4. Satellite imagery
  5. Detailed peer-reviewed scientific study dedicated to event

Each successive ranking is inclusive of the criteria before.

The database is designed to accept a wide variety of measurements and data types. To contribute an event, contributors should fill out one of the following ESEC event data templates (ESEC_Template_data). While not all fields in these templates are mandatory, we encourage contributors to fill out as many fields as possible, given the data available to them.

Please submit the completed contribution data file along with photos, maps, plots and other files that have been referenced in the event data file you are submitting (all submitted documents must include permission from the copyright holder).

Please send the above items to Kate Allstadt at

Template Content

In the above templates, event details and information on the supporting images, maps and files are collected in five tables. Each table starts with #Table in the first field and the name of the table in the second field. This line is followed by the table header, except for the Event table where fields are on separate lines.

  • Event Table

The event table fields summarize all the basic information about the event, such as approximate start and end times, event type, location, volume, area, drop height, as well as summary information about the data quality (described above) and seismic characteristics such as the furthest detection limit in different frequency bands.

The source of all values except seismic measurements (detection limits, data location etc.), which are assumed to be generated by the contributor, should be noted in the Information Table of the template along with citation information. If published values are not available for all fields, contributors are welcome to make their own measurements and calculations, (e.g., runout length measured from satellite imagery, or volume estimates based on total source area). However, if this is done, a note describing who made these measurements and what methods were used should be added to the information table.

  • Seismic Detection Info Table

The contributor should review the seismic recordings on publicly available data (e.g., from permanent seismic networks) and note detections in two frequency bands, high frequency (1-5 Hz) and long period (0.017-0.05 Hz, or 20-60 sec), though the long period band can be skipped for small events. If detections are made on seismic data that is not archived publicly, users are encouraged to include SAC or miniSEED files of the data along with metadata, if available, if permission is granted from the data owner. In this case, the name of one or more zip files containing the data should be included in the DatLocation field of the Events Table. Additionally, it is critical that the latitude, longitude, and elevation of the stations be included accurately in the table.

  • Information Table

Here, the contributor should add entries describing the source(s) of information added to the Events Table, any measurements or processing done by the contributor themselves, any notes of interest (e.g., eyewitness reports, etc.), links to online blogs or media reports, or other noteworthy observations.

  • Images Table
    Contributors should include any photos, maps, figures or other imagery files associated with the event along with descriptions and source information.
  • GIS Files Table

Similarly, contributors should include any geospatial files in this section they wish to associate with the event, along with descriptions and source information. If satellite imagery is available but cannot be shared publicly, we encourage users to generate static maps, ideally also showing event and source area outlines and centerlines used to make measurements such as runout distance and drop height (for example Mount Lituya main – rock and ice avalanche).

The following PDF and Execl files include description for the Event table fields as shown in the following figure.
  – ESEC_Template_full.xlsx
  – ESEC_Template_full.pdf

ESEC event information template
A snapshot of the ESEC event information template. Event data are provided in five tables. Each
starts with #Table in the first field and the corresponding table name as the second field. The table header lines follows the #Table line except the Event table for which field names are in the first field. The fields with their header marked by a star (*) are required. Lines that start with # are ignored. User should only modify the data values that are shown in the figure as non-shaded cells (click on the image for a larger view).

Citations and DOIs

To cite the source of ESEC (Exotic Seismic Events Catalog) events :

  • Allstadt, K.E., McVey, B.G., and Malone, S.D., 2017, Seismogenic landslides, debris flows, and outburst floods in the western United States and Canada from 1977 to 2017: U.S. Geological Survey data release,

To cite the ESEC Data Product or reference use of its data:

To cite the IRIS DMC Data Products effort:

  • Hutko, A. R., M. Bahavar, C. Trabant, R. T. Weekly, M. Van Fossen, T. Ahern (2017), Data Products at the IRIS‐DMC: Growth and Usage, Seismological Research Letters, 88, no. 3,


  • Kate Allstadt (USGS)




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