Southern California Seismic Network (SCSN) and the Southern California Earthquake Data Center (SCEDC):ShakeOut Lessons Egill Hauksson, CISN Meeting, Menlo Park, 28 January 2009
Hardware and software issues scrutinized prior to date of exercise • Verify contact information on UPN (Useful Phone Numbers) web page. • Add critical contact numbers to their personal cell phones. • Make a call using the State Office of Emergency Services (OES) OASIS satellite phone. • Call the watch stander at NEIC, OES. • Have a commercial web mail account, such as gmail, and an IM account. • Keep critical URL’s on laptop computer & the office computer. • Have a valid IMSS (Caltech) account and a VPN account (for Jiggle earthquake analysis program). • Test terminal emulation software, ssh, slogin on home or laptop computer. • Have FTP capability on home or laptop computer. • Access the SCSN Wiki web page from all relevant computers. • Run CISN display and SNW (SeisNetWatch) on all relevant computers. • Log into rift or craton and use the seismologist DRP.
Other issues that come up prior to Nov. 13 • Efforts began to start off-site off-line 2nd copy tape archive at Alburqueque. • Efforts were made to isolate the two computer rooms (Caltech and USGS) more, so that they could function independently. We are still short of this goal at this time. • We are aware that we need more redundancy of personnel capabilities. • Several SCEC and PASSCAL portable RefTek stations were telemetered via cell modem into the SCSN, to simulate the addition of a portable aftershock network. Telemetry and software portability problems were encountered but not enough staff resources were available to resolve these problems.
Conclusions During Exercise • The ShakeOut drill was an unrealistic test, in that it did not stress the seismic network, telemetry, computer operating load, etc. Extensive stress testing of the computer systems would be needed to determine exactly when and how failure could occur. • We would be severely handicapped if the Internet was down, or in case some major servers were inadequate to handle incoming requests. • We need more extensive checklists for analysts, Duty Seismologists and Duty Operators for the case of significant earthquakes. • Too few people know how to use critical software. People using unfamiliar software under stress is a problem and leads to numerous mistakes. More training is needed. One example was that the aftershock statistics estimate ended up being done by hand. Another involved updates to the SCSN.org web site. • The finite-fault capability of ShakeMap was not tested, because the ShakeMap was pre-prepared and “perfect”. • There are some earthquakes, such as the Sierra Madre fault aftershock, that would probably knock us “off the air”. Agreements and capability to transfer monitoring to northern California and/or NEIC need to be studied further, and operational agreements need to be implemented, provided staffing is available at Menlo Park or NEIC.
Conclusions During Exercise: 2 • If the earthquake does not happen during business hours, staff members would have trouble getting to work. Students and other volunteers could be recruited for some tasks. • We tried a system of phone, e-mail and web contact for SCSN staff to check in after the shaking. We concluded that it would be difficult to keep up with e-mail, since there is a huge flurry of earthquake and aftershock e-mail. Without the web or the phones, it might be impossible to accomplish keep track of the personnel. • We used several small, portable white boards to keep track of transient information, such as the status of personnel check-in. This system worked well. We also used them to signal information changes to those being interviewed by the news media. • There probably would be a need for crowd control in and around the offices and Media Center. It is unlikely that campus security people would be available for this. • The first fault-rupture information may come from our own field technicians. Training should be provided, to provide the most useful information.
Conclusions During Exercise: 3 • The OASIS phone was thoroughly tested, mostly by our state representatives. • USGS personnel tested the Iridium phones and found the performance “spotty”. • It was useful having a Caltech Radio Club ham operator in the Operations Center. • In general, the EOC’s did not seem to be familiar with the seismic data products, such as ShakeMap and ShakeCast. • We had only one person proficient in updating the SCSN.org web site • We need more wind-up flashlights, as opposed to those that need batteries. • People should keep cell-phone chargers and laptop chargers at the office. • Offices and labs in the basement and penthouse, and the telemetry room, need more bracing. • There is a need for more, updated training for the Duty Seismologists. • Some desks have sharp projections underneath, causing hazard during “drop cover and hold on”.
Conclusions Some of the issues mentioned have been corrected already. Other changes are in progress. Others, such as staff shortage, the robustness of the seismic telemetry, or communication without telephones or Internet, are more serious challenges.