The seismic networks have been designed and operated to support recording on Develocorders (less than 40db dynamic range) and analog magnetic tape (about 50 db dynamic range). The principal analysis of the records has been based on Develocorder films; and background earth noise levels have been adjusted to be about 1 to 2 mm p-p on the film readers. Since the traces are separated by only 10 to 12 mm on the reader screen, they become hopelessly tangled when signal amplitudes on several adjacent traces exceed 10 to 20 mm p-p. Thus, the background noise level is hardly more than 20 db below the level of largest readable signals. The situation is somewhat better on tape playbacks, but the high level of background noise set to accomodate processing from film records effectively limits the range of maximum-signal to background-earth-noise on high gain channels to a little more than 30 db. Introduction of the PDP 11/44 seismic data acquisition system has increased the potential dynamic range of recorded network signals to more than 60 db. To make use of this increased dynamic range we must evaluate the characteristics and performance of the seismic system. In particular, we must determine whether the electronic noise in the system is or can be made sufficiently low so that background earth noise levels can be lowered significantly to take advantage of the increased dynamic range of the digital recording system. To come to grips with the complex problem of system noise, we have carried out a number of measurements and experiments to evaluate critical components of the system as well as to determine the noise characteristics of the system as a whole.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Noise analysis of the seismic system employed in the northern and southern California seismic nets
U.S. Geological Survey
Earthquake Science Center, Menlo Park Science Center