The objective of my project, 3-D CUBE is to analyze real time data about the hypocenters of earthquakes in Southern California by plotting the hypocenters on a three-dimensional map. Real time data is data that gets generated and updated instantaneously as events occur. This data will come from emails that the Southern California Seismic Network sends out when an earthquake occurs. Included in the email is information such as the date and time of the earthquake, the coordinates of where the hypocenter is, and the magnitude of the earthquake. A perl script will be written that will take this data and insert it into a VRML file. The VRML file that will be produced will show where the hypocenter of the earthquake is in relation to the three-dimensional faults, which will also be shown. VRML, which stands for Virtual Reality Modeling Language, is a programming language that creates three-dimensional images to be viewed on the world-wide-web. So these images will be available on the web for people to see. However, a VRML plugin, which can be used within Internet Explorer or Netscape, will be required to view them. An example of a VRML plugin is the Cosmo Player, which can be found at the Cosmo Player website, http://www.cai.com/cosmo.
The problem my project is trying to tackle is that from viewing a two-dimensional image of the hypocenter and the foreshocks and aftershocks of an earthquake, it is very difficult to tell exactly where these are located and which fault plane they are associated with. So 3-D CUBE is helpful and useful because by implementing a VRML file on the world-wide-web, or a three-dimensional representation of the hypocenters and fault planes, viewers will be able to see a three-dimensional image that will clearly display how the hypocenter and aftershocks are distributed along the fault. Thus simplifying the task of identifying the source of the earthquake.
Here is how 3-D CUBE will work. The perl script is initiated when an email is received from the Southern California Seismic Network. A new email account will be created that will be dedicated to only receiving this email. When a new email arrives, it is written to a file and it remains in that file until the user checks his or her email. So the script will be checking this file every minute to see if there is any new email. When a new email is found, relevant information such as the date and time of the earthquake, the coordinates of the hypocenter, and the magnitude of the earthquake will be extracted from it. This extracted information will be used to plot the hypocenter onto the VRML file. After the information we need has been extracted, the email file will be cleared so that the program can then start the process over of checking for new email. The information we extracted will then be inserted into the VRML file at the correct locations. Then the VRML file will be complete. The image that will be produced will now be ready to be viewed on the world-wide-web with a VRML plugin such as Cosmo Player.
When the product is complete, people who use this program with the Cosmo Player plugin or another VRML plugin will be able to view a three-dimensional image of the locations of faults and earthquakes’ hypocenters, as well as view information about these earthquakes and faults. Information about the earthquakes will consist of time, date, magnitude, depth, and location, while the information of the faults will consist of the names of the faults. If someone is not using Cosmo Player or another VRML plugin, he or she will possibly be able to view a still image of these hypocenter plots and fault lines. After information about an earthquake has been in the VRML file for 30 days, that information is deleted.