EMERALD is a complete open-source software server-based system for processing large sets of event based seismic data.


EMERALD is a complete open-source software server-based system for processing large sets of event based seismic data. Data sets containing millions of seismic waveforms can easily be managed, reviewed, and processed. The system can automatically check for metadata updates, and alert the user to metadata changes. Users can create new seismic processing functions in any of an ever-growing number of programming languages, and share their codes with any or all other EMERALD users.


  • Data Requesting using Web Services — EMERALD includes an easy-to-user graphical interface for requesting seismic event data from the IRIS Data Management Center (DMC). Data from the DMC is downloaded and inserted directly into the user's Dataset in EMERALD, using the newly-released web services interfaces for accessing station and event metadata and time series data.
  • Metadata Management — A significant challenge to the scientific community is the maintenance and updating of seismic metadata, which includes information such as station location, sensor orientation, instrument response, and clock timing data. This key information changes at unknown intervals, and the changes are not generally communicated to data users who have already downloaded and processed data. EMERALD will automatically retrieve seismic metadata on a user-selected schedule, compare it with a stored snapshot, and alert the user to selected metadata changes.
  • Large Datasets — EMERALD is an integrated, extensible, standalone database server system based on the open-source PostgreSQL database engine. PostgreSQL is the most feature-rich open-source database server, and is easily capable of storing, managing, and backing up many millions of seismic waveforms and the associated metadata.

  • Fast Trace Editing — A major feature of EMERALD is the functionality for quickly and easily reviewing large numbers of seismograms. The trace editing pages allow you to review and accept or reject traces by seismic event, by station, or by event/station pair. Hundreds or thousands of events can be displayed on the same web page, allowing users to quickly scroll through a large volume of data.
  • User Interface — The standard user interface for EMERALD is a web browser. Because EMERALD is based on a server, the users can access its wide range of functionality regardless of the operating system on their client computers. Want to work on your seismic data from your laptop, netbook, or smart phone? No problem with EMERALD. The easy-to-use graphical interface makes it ideal for teaching beginning seismology to new students.
  • Extensibility — EMERALD is designed to allow individual researchers to add their own processing codes; extensions to EMERALD can be created in any of a ever-growing number of programming languages. Because the database structure represents a common format for data storage, processing codes developed for EMERALD are completely portable between user systems. No more struggling to match file naming and directory structure conventions in order to reuse other's code!


EMERALD requires a virtual machine driver (known as a hypervisor) on the workstation or server where EMERALD will be installed. You may use Oracle VirtualBox (available here), which is free and is available for most common operating systems.

EMERALD requires a 64-bit operating system, and will probably not install on 32-bit systems.


The source code for the latest EMERALD release is available for download as Gnu ZIP Archive, ~3.3 GB (please read the installation instructions in this README file)


To ask questions or participate in discussions regarding EMERALD, please use the Forums tab near the top of this page. To report a bug or request a feature, use the New Issue tab. An account on SeisCode is required to post to either place. To sign up for a SeisCode account, click on the "Register" link at the upper right corner of this page.

Guides for Getting Started with EMERALD

Quick-Start Guide
How To Request Data
EMERALD Hints & Tips

Web Site



To cite the IRIS DMC Data Products effort:

  • Trabant, C., A. R. Hutko, M. Bahavar, R. Karstens, T. Ahern, and R. Aster (2012), Data Products at the IRIS DMC: Stepping Stones for Research and Other Applications, Seismological Research Letters, 83(5), 846–854, doi:10.1785/0220120032.

To cite the source of the EMERALD data product:

Additional information

Additional information can be found under the Files tab of this page


  • Category: Data Processing
  • Language: (other)
  • Keywords:

    data bases; data management; data processing; earthquakes; EMERALD computer program; global; information management; seismicity; World Wide Web

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