High-Density Seismic Monitoring Network for a High Spatial Resolution of the Seismic

Cofinanciado por:
Acronym | SSN-Alentejo
Project title | High-Density Seismic Monitoring Network for a High Spatial Resolution of the Seismic
Project Code | PTDC/CTA-GEF/031260/2017
Main objective |

Region of intervention |

Beneficiary entity | Universidade de Évora(líder)

Approval date | 06-07-2018
Start date | 01-09-2018
Date of the conclusion | 31-08-2020
Date of extension | 31-08-2021

Total eligible cost | 230666.72 €
European Union financial support |
National/regional public financial support | República Portuguesa - 230666.72 €


SSN-Alentejo develops the largest high-density seismic sensor network ever deployed in Portugal. This novel network ambitions to improve the characterisation of seismic activity in the region, through the development of high-resolution mapping of clusters and faults and the rapid assessment of ground shaking, and to improve geohazard assessments. The seismology community recognises the value of those networks to enable knowledge advances of the Earth's crustal and upper mantle structure, as well as of earthquake detection thresholds. Recently, in California, technology evolutions in sensing, networking and miniaturisation were explored to deploy thousands of low-cost accelerometers and visualise with remarkable resolution seismic activity and generate shake maps.

SSN-Alentejo leverages on this successful case study and proposes to create Portugal's first high-density seismic network, exploring the opportunity to apply data analytics techniques (big data analysis and pattern-matching) new in seismology and attain improvements in the characterisation of seismic activity in the Alentejo region. For 2 years, SSN-Alentejo deploys an ambitious monitoring network of 300 sensors, combining high-sensitive A sensors with low-cost B sensors, to generate significant volumes of live data and advance seismology knowledge.

The following scientific advances are expected:

- Enhancement of the knowledge on the characterisation of the seismic activity in the region through high-resolution mapping of clusters and faults;

- Creation of a curated database populated with live data from the high-density seismic network;

- Rapid assessment of ground shaking movements (e.g., earthquake);


- Improvement of geohazard assessments;

- Application of novel computational-intensive techniques to the seismology domain and comparison of results with traditional methods.

During the WILAS project, temporary seismic stations reinforced the 40 fixed stations network but, with WILAS's conclusion, and contrary to the recommendations of the seismology community, the Portuguese seismic network reverted to the original configuration, compromising knowledge advances in the field. SSN-Alentejo intends to reverse this trend and significantly invest in the reinforcement of sensing and monitoring capabilities, enabling the opportunity to explore for the first time in Portuguese territory the high-resolution observation of seismic activity. It is also expected to significantly enhance the understanding of environmental risks associated with extreme phenomena, thus contributing to the management of environmental change.

SSN-Alentejo foresees an ambitious dissemination and promotion effort, aiming to reach specialised scientific communities and policy-makers, through the publication of papers in recognised national and international conferences, the production of articles in scientific publications and the organisation of two conferences dedicated to high-density seismic networks.


Objectives, activities and expected/achieved results


The project's main objectives are:

- to enhance the knowledge on the characterisation of seismic activity in the region through high-resolution mapping of clusters and faults;

- to improve the speed of assessment of ground shaking (e.g., earthquake);

- to improve geohazard assessments;

- to create a curated database populated with real-time data supplied by the deployed high-density seismic network;

- to explore the application of novel computational-intensive techniques in seismology and compare results with traditional methods;

- to deploy a sensor network displaying very high spatial density for purposes of seismology;

- to explore efficient techniques for sending, storing and accessing significant volumes of real-time data, abiding to the open data paradigm for research communities;

- to submit an European patent application on the novel application of big data processing - techniques to seismology;

- to contribute to advanced training, via research fellowships;

- to integrate the new knowledge in advanced training activities, such as the Geosciences course, through the development of new pedagogical materials (introductory module for undergraduate students and advanced module for post-graduate students);

- to implement an ambitious dissemination plan towards relevant national and international stakeholder audiences, aiming to promote the project's scientific research results, the new body of knowledge generated and scientific culture.


This activity aims to disseminate the main results and findings of the project to relevant audiences in scientific, policy-making and business domains. The project’s dissemination strategy is diversified and set to maximise outreach effectiveness:

- production of scientific papers for relevant national and international conferences (e.g., IEEE, SensorNets, Geology and Geoscience);

- publishing of articles in recognised scientific publications;

- publishing of articles in science magazines targeting enthusiasts of seismology, engineering and technology (e.g., Science News) as well as in specialised business magazines (e.g., "Indústria e Ambiente");

- organisation of two conferences focusing on high-density seismic networks and presenting the project’s main achievements and results targeting national and international expert audiences;

- submission of a European patent on the project’s exploitation of big data processing techniques applied to the seismology domain;

- creation of pedagogical materials to support a new module in the Geosciences Course ministered at the University of Évora, exploring the innovation and knowledge advances enabled by the SSN-Alentejo project;

- cross-fertilisation with on-going projects, such as C4G and EMSO;

- creation of the SSN-Alentejo project website, leveraging on the Open Access Data approach, to provide valuable insights and updates throughout the execution of the project and present the project’s synopsis, main results and achievements, including the high-density seismic sensor network prototype and the SNN-Alentejo curated database. Through the SSN-Alentejo website, the research seismic and geophysics data obtained in the project will be available as a) supplementary material in scientific articles, allowing the results’ re-use and replication; and b) a curated database made publicly available at the end of the project’s lifetime. The website also performs as a virtual collaboration space where interested stakeholders can network and exchange knowledge and experience related with the scope of the SSN-Alentejo project and associated themes on risk management associated with extreme phenomena and climate change. In order to ensure continuity of public access to the website, it will be hosted by a server at the University of Évora.


Outputs: This activity is conducted over three iterations during the 3 phases of the project.  Led by the IR, a report is elaborated at the end of each iteration, documenting the project’s communication and promotion activities and the impact generated. This activity is fundamental to allow SSN-Alentejo project’s contribution to knowledge and scientific culture and to ensure the valuation of the potential of its scientific results.

Resources: This activity is led by the IR (HR1) and has the support of the research team (HR2, 3, 4, 5 and 6).



- M5.1: Project Fase 1 dissemination results, at month 6.  Completion of the project's first conference. Coincides with M1.

- M5.2: Project Fase 2 dissemination results - at month 16. Verification of dissemination and communication activities planned for the project. Coincides with M3.


- M5.3: Project Fase 3 dissemination results - at month 24.  Completion of the project's second conference.  Verification of dissemination and communication activities planned for the project. Coincides with M4.