Encyclopedia of Earthquake Engineering

2015 Edition
| Editors: Michael Beer, Ioannis A. Kougioumtzoglou, Edoardo Patelli, Siu-Kui Au

Sensors, Calibration of

  • Jens HavskovEmail author
  • Gerardo Alguacil
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-35344-4_192


Accelerometer; Response function; Seismometer; Seismometer damping


The output of a seismic sensor, a seismometer or an accelerometer, is a time-varying voltage, which is related to the ground motion by a differential equation in the time domain or by a transfer function in the frequency domain. This transfer function or response function is characterized by a number of parameters, which are assumed to be constant, at least in the short term.

A seismic sensor will have calibration information given by the manufacturer. These specifications will be used to correct the seismic signal from the sensor to produce the true ground motion. If, e.g., for a given harmonic ground velocity X( ω), the output from the sensor is Y( ω), the amplitude response or transfer function A( ω) is defined as the ratio A( ω) = Y( ω) /X( ω), where ω is the frequency in radian/s. So, if A( ω) is known, the input (ground motion) can then be calculated as
$$ X\left(\omega \right) = Y\left(\omega...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bormann P (ed) (2002) IASPEI New manual of seismological observatory practice (NMSOP). GeoForchungsZentrum Potsdam, PotsdamGoogle Scholar
  2. Gerner A, Bokelmann G (2013) Instrument self-noise and sensor misalignment. Adv Geosci 36:17–20. doi:10.5194/adgeo-36-17-2013CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Havskov J, Alguacil G (2010) Instrumentation in earthquake seismology. Springer, Dordrecht, p 358Google Scholar
  4. Lay T, Wallace TC (1995) Modern global seismology. Academic, San Diego, p 521. ISBN 0-12-732870-XGoogle Scholar
  5. Ljung L (1999) System identification: theory for the user, 2nd edn. Prentice Hall PTR, Englewood Cliffs, p 609Google Scholar
  6. Pavlis GL, Vernon FL (1994) Calibration of seismometers using ground noise. Bull Seismol Soc Am 84:1243–1255Google Scholar
  7. Sauter AW, Dorman LM (1986) Instrument calibration of ocean bottom seismographs. Mar Geophys Res 8:265–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Scherbaum F (2007) Of poles and zeros, fundamentals of digital seismology, revised 2nd edn. Springer, Dordrecht, p 271Google Scholar
  9. Sleeman R, van Wettum A, Trampert J (2006) Three-channel correlation analysis: a new technique to measure instrumental noise of digitizers and seismic sensors. Bull Seismol Soc Am 96(1):258–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Steck L, Prothero WA (1989) Seismic calibration using the simplex algorithm. Bull Seismol Soc Am 79:1618–1628Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth ScienceUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Instituto Andaluz de GeofísicaUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain