Visualizing field-measured seismic data

Tung Ju Hsieh, G. Kai Chen, Kwan-Liu Ma

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Scopus citations


This paper presents visualization of field-measured, time-varying multidimensional earthquake accelerograph readings. Direct volume rendering is used to depict the space-time relationships of seismic readings collected from sensor stations in an intuitive way such that the progress of seismic wave propagation of an earthquake event can be directly observed. The resulting visualization reveals the sequence of seismic wave initiation, propagation, attenuation over time, and energy releasing events. We provide a case study on the magnitude scale Mw 7.6 Chi-Chi earthquake in Taiwan, which is the most thoroughly recorded earthquake event ever in the history. More than 400 stations recorded this event, and the readings from this event increased global strong-motion records five folds. Each station measured east-west, north-south, and vertical component of acceleration for approximately 90 seconds. The sensor network released the initial raw data within minutes after the Chi-Chi mainshock. It is essential to have a visualization system for fast data exploring and analyzing, offering crucial visual analytical information for scientists to make quick judgments. Raw data requires preprocessing before it can be rendered. We generated a sequence of ground-motion wave-field maps of 350 x 200 regular grid covers the entire Taiwan island from the sensor network readings. The result is a total of 1000 ground-motion wave-field maps with 0.1 second interval, forming a 1000 x 350 x 200 volume data set. We show that visualizing the time-varying component of the data spatially uncovers the changing features hidden in the data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIEEE Pacific Visualization Symposium 2010, PacificVis 2010 - Proceedings
Number of pages8
StatePublished - May 6 2010
EventIEEE Pacific Visualization Symposium 2010, PacificVis 2010 - Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: Mar 2 2010Mar 5 2010


OtherIEEE Pacific Visualization Symposium 2010, PacificVis 2010
Country/TerritoryTaiwan, Province of China


  • I.3.3 [Computer graphics]: Picture/image generation
  • I.3.8 [Computer graphics]: Applications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Software


Dive into the research topics of 'Visualizing field-measured seismic data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this