Journal of Seismology

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 477–486 | Cite as

On the recording characteristics of the original Wiechert seismographs at Göttingen (Germany)

  • Joachim R.R. Ritter


The mechanical, automatically recording seismological instruments developed by Emil Wiechert in Göttingen at the beginning of the 20th century are still in use today. I comparethe recording characteristics of these seismographswith a modern, electrodynamic MARK L4-3D instrument. The frequency-dependent transfer functions are determined and used to restitute the`true' ground displacement. The displacement waveforms at the different instruments are well correlated at frequencies between 0.05 and 4.0 Hz.Amplitudes differ by a factor of less than two. This is sufficientfor the determination of seismological magnitudes which are defined on a logarithmicbasis. The timing accuracy is less favourable due to theslow recording speed on the smoked paper. However, relativetime differences within one second may be resolved, allowing the use of variousmodern seismological interpretation techniques.

historical instruments transfer function waveforms Wiechert seismographs 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Engdahl, E.R., van der Hilst, R. and Buland, R., 1998, Global teleseismic earthquake relocation with improved travel times and procedures for depth determination, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am. 88, 722-743.Google Scholar
  2. Giardini, D. 1999, The global seismic hazard assessment program (GSHAP)-1992/1999, Ann. Geofis. 42, 957-974.Google Scholar
  3. Hedlin, M.A.H., Earle, P.S. and Bolton, H., 2000, Old seismic data yield new insights, EOS Trans. Am. Geophys. Union 81, 469 & 472-473.Google Scholar
  4. Keyser, M., Meyer, R. and Ritter, J.R.R., 2000, Teleseismic Swave and Qp recordings at the Eifel Plume Project, In: Bonatz, M. (ed.), Comptes-Rendus 87, Journées Luxembourgeoises de Géodynamique, pp. 72-77.Google Scholar
  5. Lay, T. and Wallace, T.C., 1995, Modern global seismology, Academic Press, San Diego.Google Scholar
  6. Reid, H.F., 1925, The influence of friction on seismographs, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am. 15, 222-241.Google Scholar
  7. Ritter, J.R.R., Achauer, U., Christensen, U.R. and the Eifel Plume Team, 2000, The teleseismic tomography experiment in the Eifel region, Central Europe: Design and first results, Seism. Res. Lett. 71, 437-443.Google Scholar
  8. Samardjieva, E., Payo, G., Badal, J. and López, C., 1997, Old regional seismograms at the Toledo Observatory. Their study by computer techniques, In: Ferrari, G. (ed.), Historical Seismic Instruments and Documents: A Heritage of Great Scientific and Cultural Value, Conseil de l' Europe, Cahiers du Centre Européen de Géodynamique et de Séismologie, 13, pp. 159-175, Luxembourg.Google Scholar
  9. Scherbaum, F., 1996, Of Poles and Zeros, Fundamentals of Digital Seismology, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  10. Stammler, K., 1993, SeismicHandler-Programmable multichannel data handler for interactive and automatic processing of seismological analyses, Comp. Geosciences 19, 135-140.Google Scholar
  11. Villaseñor, A., Bergman, E.A., Boyd, T.M., Engdahl, E.R., Frazier, W.D., Harden, M.M., Orth, J.L., Parkes, R.L. and Shedlock, K.M., 1997, Toward a comprehensive catalog of global historical seismicity, EOS Trans. Am. Geophys. Union 78, 581, 583 & 588.Google Scholar
  12. Wald, D.J., Kanamori, H., Helmberger, D.V. and Heaton, T.H., 1993, Source study of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am. 83, 981-1019.Google Scholar
  13. Wiechert, E., 1903a, Theorie der automatischen Seismographen, Abh. königl. Ges. d. Wiss. Math.-phys. Klasse Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, Berlin.Google Scholar
  14. Wiechert, E., 1903b, Ein astatisches Pendel hoher Empfindlichkeit zur mechanischen Registrierung von Erdbeben, Phys. Zeit. 4, 821-829.Google Scholar
  15. Zoeppritz, K., 1908, Seismische Registrierungen in Göttingen im Jahre 1906, Kgl. Ges. d. Wiss. Nachrichten Math.-phys. Klasse, 129-190.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim R.R. Ritter
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für GeophysikGeorg-August-Universität GöttingenGöttingenGermany

Personalised recommendations