Articles | Volume 5, issue 1
Review article
07 Jan 2014
Review article |  | 07 Jan 2014

From San Francisco to Tōhoku – 111 yr of continuous earthquake recording in Göttingen

H. Steffen, W. Brunk, M. Leven, and U. Wedeken

Abstract. In 1902, the so-called Erdbebenhaus (earthquake house) was built in the garden of the Institute of Geophysics of the University of Göttingen to host and protect the very sensitive and fragile seismographs designed by Emil Wiechert. These instruments were the standard at their time, and they are still in operation today, documenting 111 yr of almost continuous seismological observations. Since 2005, the observatory is owned by the Wiechert'sche Erdbebenwarte Göttingen e.V. (Wiechert's earthquake observatory in Göttingen, registered society). This society aims at extending the observational record and protecting the observatory as a cultural heritage.

In this paper we review the history of the observatory in the last 111 yr. Special attention is given to the developments in the last decade, when the observatory and further historic buildings and instruments changed ownership. Due to the efforts by the society, the observatory is still running now and open to the public. In addition, it is a part of the German Regional Seismic Network and, thus, observations can be used for scientific investigations.