Earthquake Catalogue



The GeoNet catalogue is where all the technical information about earthquakes is stored. Information such as location, magnitude and arrival times of seismic waves.

Since the 1930's, earthquakes in the catalogue have been determined by instrumental records. Prior to that estimates were made from oral and written records.

Public ID


GeoNet uses a unique combination of numbers and letters to easily identify an earthquake. This is called the earthquake's Public ID. Knowing the earthquake's Public ID makes it quick to get detailed information about the earthquake.

The format of the Public ID has changed over time:

Overview of Access Tools


Tool Description Output Format
QuakeSearch Interactive, returns basic earthquake parameters CSVGeoJSONGML or KML
WFS Web feature service, returns basic earthquake parameters similar to QuakeSearch but supports more advanced searching methods such as polygons. WFS is an Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standard to allow web-based access to geographical data. CSV, GeoJSON, GML or KML
QuakeML Full event solution for individual earthquakes, includes picks, amplitudes and historical solutions QuakeML (XML)
FDSN webservice*  Webservice, includes event, station and waveform services. More info QuakeML (XML)
GeoNet API API for accessing a variety of earthquake information, used to build the GeoNet website and therefore highly supported JSON, GeoJSON and CAP (XML)
RSS Feed** RSS style feed for earthquake information XMLStill in development

* Still in development
** Deprecated service. Please use the GeoNet API instead

Searching the Catalogue


Quake Search


Quake Search is the easiest way to get basic information from the catalogue, such as earthquake locations, magnitude and the PublicID.

Features of Quake Search:

Note: QuakeSearch results provide only the preferred solutions for the earthquake parameters. It does not include arrival times, origin history or additional magnitude information.

Please see the GeoNet WFS information page for how to use the more advanced WFS service.

More Detailed Information


The full and detailed information about the earthquake, such as uncertainties, arrival times and amplitude picks, location algorithm and velocity model used, can be found in the QuakeML file for each earthquake. There are two ways to obtain the QuakeML from the earthquake catalogue: a URL based webservice and the FDSN webservice. If you know the Public ID of the earthquake you are interested in then the first option is great. If you don't or you want to search for this information from multiple events then the FDSN webservice is the better option, examples for QuakeML are below. See the GeoNet FDSN information page for how to use the FDSN webservice.

QuakeML

QuakeML has 2 formats. One has the notation RT, which means real-time variant. We currently provide our data in QuakeML version 1.2.

General URL Form:

http://quakeml.geonet.org.nz/quakeml/1.2/[PublicID]
http://quakeml.geonet.org.nz/quakeml-rt/1.2/[PublicID]

Example:

http://quakeml.geonet.org.nz/quakeml/1.2/2016p858000
http://quakeml.geonet.org.nz/quakeml-rt/1.2/2016p858000

You can also read this information directly from a Python script using Obspy. Note: is doesn't download the file, just reads it.

from obspy import read_events
# Read QuakeML directly from the website
cat = read_events(pathname_or_url='http://quakeml.geonet.org.nz/quakeml/1.2/2016p858000')
# Plot earthquake on map
cat.plot(projection="local")

Earthquake Source Mechanisms


Earthquake source mechanisms, such as moment tensors, focal mechanisms and fault models, are available for some earthquakes. Moment tensors are regularly determined by GeoNet for most earthquakes above magnitude 4.5.

Description of Catalogue Outputs


Field Description
publicid The Public Id, a unique earthquake reference code.
eventtype The type of seismic event, eg. earthquake, quarry blast, outside of network interest, etc.
origintime The UTC time of the event's occurrence (in ISO 8601 format).
modificationtime The UTC time of the event's last update to its information (in ISO 8601 format).
latitude The latitude of the event (decimal degrees, WGS84 datum).
longitude The longitude of the event (decimal degrees, WGS84 datum).
depth The focal depth of the event (km).
magnitude The magnitude of the event.
evaluationmethod The computer technique used to locate the earthquake.
evaluationstatus The status of the location: preliminary, reviewed, etc.
evaluationmode The mode of location: manual or automatic.
earthmodel The earth model used by the evaluationmethod.
depthtype The type of depth determination.
originerror The standard error of travel time residuals (seconds).
usedphasecount The number of defining phases used computing the location.
usedstationcount The number of stations from which phases were used in computing the location.
minimumdistance The epicentral distance to the closest station (degrees).
azimuthalgap The largest azimuthal gap in station distribution (degrees).
magnitudetype The type of magnitude determined.
magnitudeuncertainty The standard error of magnitude.
magnitudestationcount The number of stations used to determine the magnitude.