Taking a second to listen to the river

Running and maintaining our networks, monitoring earthquakes and volcanoes and keeping our clients happy is a lot of work. At times our work causes unnecessary fights with our computers which in turn inflict a bit of unwanted stress in our lives. That is why OSOP has decided to take time every day to stop, sit by the river and listen to the soothing sounds… But who has the time? Instead we installed a seismometer to listen for us.

Fluvial seismology or acoustic flow monitoring (AFM) is the use of seismic equipment to measure flow mechanics based on the noise generated by the materials being transported within a fluid. For example: as rocks are pushed around in a river, they bash into every thing around them generating elastic waves which can be monitored by a seismometer.


These techniques have been used successfully in a couple of different applications including lahar early warning systems and sediment discharge computations along rivers.

We believe we can apply these techniques to local rivers to help warn against yet another natural disaster here in Panama, flash floods. With Panama’s large amount of rain fall, these floods are a common problem which cause large amounts of property damage and often take lives. By monitoring the change in intensity and frequencies of the elastic waves created by flood bores we believe we can set up an automated system that will warn down stream populations prior to the arrival of the flooding events.

Listen to this debris flow


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