Journal of Seismology

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 623–637 | Cite as

On the application of fiber optic gyroscopes for detection of seismic rotations

  • Alexander VelikoseltsevEmail author
  • Karl Ulrich Schreiber
  • Alexander Yankovsky
  • Jon-Paul R. Wells
  • Alexander Boronachin
  • Anna Tkachenko
Original Article


In recent years, the measurement of rotational components of earthquake-induced ground motion became a reality due to high-resolution ring laser gyroscopes. As a consequence of the fact that they exploit the Sagnac effect, these devices are entirely insensitive to translational motion and are able to measure the rotation rate with high linearity and accuracy over a wide frequency band. During the last decade, a substantial number of earthquakes were recorded by the large ring lasers located in Germany, New Zealand, and USA, and the subsequent data analysis demonstrated reliability and consistency of the results with respect to theoretical models. However, most of the observations recorded teleseismic events in the far-field. The substantial mass and the size of these active interferometers make their near-field application difficult. Therefore, the passive counterparts of ring lasers, the fiber optic gyros can be used for seismic applications where the mobility is more important than extreme precision. These sensors provide reasonable accuracy and are small in size, which makes them perfect candidates for strong motion applications. The other advantage of fiber optic gyroscopes is that if the earthquake is local and shallow (like one occurred early this year at Canterbury, New Zealand), the large ring lasers simply do not have the dynamic range—the effect is far too large for these instruments. In this paper, we analyze a typical commercially available tactical grade fiber optic gyroscope (VG-951) with respect to the seismic rotation measurement requirements. The initial test results including translation and upper bounds of seismic rotation sensitivity are presented. The advantages and limitations of tactical grade fiber optic gyroscope as seismic rotation sensor are discussed.


Rotational ground motion Fiber optic gyroscope Rotational seismology 



This research was supported in part by grant from the Federal Targeted Programme “Scientific and scientific–pedagogical personnel of the innovative Russia in 2009–2013” of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation. We acknowledge the support of Matthew Pannell, who implemented the FOG monitoring system in the Rutherford building.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Velikoseltsev
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karl Ulrich Schreiber
    • 2
  • Alexander Yankovsky
    • 3
  • Jon-Paul R. Wells
    • 4
  • Alexander Boronachin
    • 1
  • Anna Tkachenko
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Laser Measurement and Navigation SystemsSaint Petersburg Electrotechnical UniversitySt.-PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.Bundesamt für Kartographie und Geodäsie, Geodätisches Observatorium WettzellBad KötztingGermany
  3. 3.D.I. Mendeleyev Institute for MetrologySt.-PetersburgRussia
  4. 4.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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