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Raspberry Pi helps geologists measure earthquakes and volcanoes


Called Raspberry Shakes, their performance is high enough for them to be connected to some international earthquake monitoring networks.

OSOP is the name of the company, based in Palmira, on Volcan Baru.

Raspberry Shake 1D is the base model (pictured), which senses in one dimension and costs under $400. It includes a Raspberry Pi, a high-resolution data acquisition board, and a single geophone.

Raspberry Pi 2D and 3D have two or three geophones for two and three dimensional sensing, then the 4D variant goes back to a single geophone, backed by a 3D mems accelerometer.

For a lower cost entry, at $160 there is a kit with one geophone and an analogue interface board – to which a user can add their own Raspberry Pi and case. Any necessary software can be downloaded from the company website. There is a little non-kit DIY information here.

Depending on model, the geophones are either Racotech Geophysical Instruments RGI-20DX 4.5 Hz (395Ω, vertical axis) or Sunfull PS-4.5B (375Ω vertical and horizontal).

The company also runs an on-line visualisation tool, called Station View, through whihc anyone with a web connection can see what any active Raspberry Shake in the world has seen over he last 10 minutes.

The simpler products are aimed at citizen scientists, education, hobbyists, makers and enthusiasts – although apparently USGS (US geological survey) and the Oklahoma Geological Survey use them.

There is also a Raspberry Shake Pro, which is the one compatible with earthquake early warning, and has three accelerometers and three orthogonal 4.5 Hz geophones (and optional infra-sound sensor for volcano monitoring) with a 24bit 144dB digitiser.

Before you get your wallet out, some licencing conditions are attached to these products – caveat emptor.