The department R&D Seismology and Acoustics covers the field of mechanical waves in the solid earth, the atmosphere and the oceans, from the angles of seismology and acoustics. The department is responsible for the real-time determination of the epicenter, the strength and the depth of both tectonic and induced seismic events in the Netherlands, and the attribution of their causes. To this end data are acquired (monitoring using an extensive national seismic and acoustic network), interpreted (analysis and research) and distributed (data dissemination).
In order to assess the potential hazard of induced seismicity due to conventional gas production in Groningen, hazard maps of the region are developed. These maps are leading in the national decision making concerning the annual gas production, thus having high relevance for both national safety and economy. Independent monitoring of geophysical events plays a decisive role in determining whether the gas industry is liable for the damage to houses, buildings and infrastructure in the Groningen region. More generally speaking the department has an independent, authoritative advisory role to national government, the industry and the general public in these matters. Increasingly this role is extended to sustainable mining activities (e.g. geothermal energy).
The department monitors the volcanic activity in Saba and St. Eustatius and runs an earthquake monitoring and tsunami warning system for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.
R&DSA acoustics related activities concern the detection, localization, attribution and analysis of sub- and supersonic events (nuclear tests, meteors, aircraft, rocket, or bomb induced sonic booms, crash MH17, industrial explosions, industrial activity). Scientifically the department has a strong position in the detection, characterization and modelling of infrasound propagation in the atmosphere and the oceans. This includes the weather dependence of sound propagation and the reconstruction of atmospheric and oceanic conditions from acoustical data.
R&DSA has a strong position in the international acquisition and distribution of seismic data (ORFEUS Data Center, EIDA-node). The department also is responsible for the detection, localization, and characterization of global nuclear events and advises the national government and Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization on these matters.