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Visitors from Ecuador

Mayra Vaca, Wilson Enriquez, Cristina Ramos

Three engineers from the Escuela Politecnica Nacional Ecuador, Instituto Geofísico, spent the first two weeks of May here at PASSCAL. They are planning a network of 63 permanent broadband stations, 25 emergency sites, and 70 accelerometer stations in Ecuador. These stations will be used to monitor volcanic activity and seismic events. Ecuador is home to more than 20 volcanoes, so this is an important undertaking not only for the scientific knowledge it will provide, but also for the safety of the Ecuadoran people.

Mayra Vaca, Wilson Enriquez, and Cristina Ramos came for an intense training session covering a variety of topics from our local experts at PASSCAL.  Unlike most of our visitors, they did not come to borrow equipment.  They came to benefit from our expertise and experience, and met with just about everyone on staff in the process.

We spoke to them about many aspects of our operations: PASSCAL's role within IRIS; how our working groups are structured; how we manage the formidable tasks of logistics, hardware maintenance, software engineering; and data processing.  They studied sensor handling - from pier testing and bench work, to field installation and troubleshooting.  They were taught how to program, update, test and make repairs to our various digitizers, such as the Q330S and RT130.  They learned about the infrasound setup we use in the Transportable Array sites, which is especially applicable to volcano research. We showed them many aspects of our suite of software and how to use it, like trace viewing with PQLII, and inventory control with the PASSCAL Information System.  We discussed concepts like metadata, the dataless, and PDCC (a tool used to generate dataless files).  They also wanted to learn about our software testing and management techniques.

On Friday evening, Steve and Susie Welch graciously hosted a farewell barbeque dinner for our new friends.  We wish our Ecuadoran colleagues a safe journey back home and the best of luck with their important new network.