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Open-File Report 2009-1295

Guidelines for Standardized Testing of Broadband Seismometers and Accelerometers

By Charles R. Hutt, John R. Evans, Fred Followill, Robert L. Nigbor, and Erhard Wielandt


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Testing and specification of seismic and earthquake-engineering sensors and recorders has been marked by significant variations in procedures and selected parameters. These variations cause difficulty in comparing such specifications and test results.

In July 1989, and again in May 2005, the U.S. Geological Survey hosted international public/private workshops with the goal of defining widely accepted guidelines for the testing of seismological inertial sensors, seismometers, and accelerometers. The Proceedings of the 2005 workshop have been published and include as appendix 6 the report of the 1989 workshop.

This document represents a collation and rationalization of a single set of formal guidelines for testing and specifying broadband seismometers and accelerometers.

First posted January 6, 2010

For additional information contact:

U.S. Geological Survey
National Earthquake Information Center
Box 25046, MS-966
Denver Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225-0046

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Hutt, Charles R., Evans, John R., Followill, Fred, Nigbor, Robert L., and Wielandt, Erhard, 2010, Guidelines for standardized testing of broadband seismometers and accelerometers: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report, 2009-1295, 62 p.






General Recommendations

Recommended Testing for Weak Motion Broadband Velocity Sensors

Recommended Testing for Strong Motion Acceleration Sensors



Appendix 1: Step Table Calibration Procedure

Appendix 2: Sample Test Procedure for WM BB Velocity Sensor Frequency Response

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