SSBW - IRIS DMC Tutorial 4: dataselect Web Service and Filtering Seismograms

Mike Brudzinski, Miami University-Oxford
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Initial Publication Date: August 18, 2021


In this interactive tutorial built for a learning management system, students 1) generate and interpret IRIS web service requests for metadata, earthquake information, and seismogram data (event, station, dataselect), 2) use SAC to visualize and interpret seismogram and spectrogram frequency content, and 3) design a bandpass filter to limit noise signatures.

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The IRIS Seismology Skill Building Workshop (SSBW), which is a free, online, open-access, large-enrollment, 12-week summer workshop for upper level undergraduates.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

This assignment builds on prior experience using a Linux command line environment, IRIS web service requests, the SAC (Seismic Analysis Code) software, and an understanding of the relationships between time domain and frequency domain in converting from seismograms to spectrograms and in the process of filtering.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is assignment number 17 of 35 assignments in the Seismology Skill Building Workshop.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Other skills goals for this activity

Description and Teaching Materials

Students will:
1. Learn about the Sept. 12, 2007 Magnitude 8.5 earthquake sequence in southern Sumatra 
2. Generate and interpret IRIS event web service requests for earthquake catalog information 
3. Generate and interpret IRIS station web service requests for recording metadata 
4. Generate and interpret IRIS dataselect web service requests for seismograms 
5. Use SAC to visualize and interpret seismogram frequency content 
6. Use a Fast Fourier Transform to analyze spectral content 
7. Design a bandpass filter to limit noise signatures.

Teaching Notes and Tips

This assignment was constructed in the Moodle learning management system, and has been exported in the GIFT format. More information about the syntax of this format can be found here:


This assignment is automatically graded by the learning management system. The number of questions of each type used are:
17 multiple choice questions
3 multiple answer question
1 true/false question
8 numeric questions (number and magnitude of earthquakes, sampling interval, rate, frequency)
7 short answer (auto-graded) question

References and Resources

During the Seismology Skill Building Workshop, students are provided with a virtual Linux machine that was tailored to include the software specifically needed to complete the assignments. This software is all freely available on the internet, but interested parties are encouraged to contact the instructor for access to this tailored virtual machine.