Preparing for the big one(s)

About the AcceleROB Project

The AcceleROB project aims at deploying 90 low-cost accelerometric stations in Belgium in order to measure the real ground motion whenever a larger-than-usual earthquake will strike. "AcceleROB" is an acronym for "Accelerometric station of the Royal Observatory of Belgium" (Seismology-Gravimetry service). A complete AcceleROB includes: a RaspberryPi microcomputer, a power supply, a network cable, a JoyWarrior Accelerometer and a tripod brick. This setup allows installing the sensor in basements without the need to leave a computer permanently switched on. The station is low-consumption: less than 3 Watts (7 W with the Devolo) and low-bandwidth: around 365 bytes per second (30MB/day)!

Measuring Ground Motions

The sensors are calibrated to be sensitive to accelerations in the range of 0.001 g, which should be met by any earthquake of local magnitude ML=3 or larger. An earthquake such as the 1983 Li├Ęge Earthquake would be measured by at least half of the sensors. This is shown on the picture at the left where the simulated detections are shown in green and are colored by decreasing intensity. This information will be useful for the research conducted at the Seismology-Gravimetry service. It will allow defining new Ground Motion Prediction Equations for earthquakes in the plate interiors, which is an essential part of the seismic hazard estimation for our regions.

Already Installed Stations

Most of the 90 accelerometric stations have been installed, mostly at places owned by members of the Seismology-Gravimetry staff of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, their families and friends. The regular grid shown on the figure above does not have to be respected. Although the original idea was to cover the country completely, it does not mean such regularity is required! This map shows the current deployed AcceleROB (blue), together with the permanent seismic (green) and accelerometric (red) networks of the ROB.