International Solid Earth Virtual Research Observatory Institute

5th ACES International Workshop April 4-6, 2006 in Hawaii, USA

Science is driven by the feedback between predictive theories and observations. A predictive capability for earth phenomena is now within reach due to recent developments in numerical simulation technology, computational facilities and international cooperation.

Recognising this and the enormous scope and benefits offered by solid earth simulation, the ACES International Science Board agreed to work towards establishment of a frontier international research institute on simulating the solid earth. The institute will consist of a node in each participating country, and will build on complementary national programs, centers and facilities for solid earth simulation. The institute's focus will be development of predictive capabilities for solid earth phenomena via simulation and breakthrough science using the computational simulation capabilities aimed at understanding solid earth system complexity.

A colloquium on iSERVO was held at the 4th ACES Workshop on July 9-14, 2004 in Beijing, China leading to broad endorsement for establishment of the iSERVO institute by the international group of over 100 scientists in attendance, and subsequent signing of a formal agreement - "The Beijing Declaration" - to establish the institute.

Expected benefits of the research include natural hazard and environmental management, geothermal energy, earth resources and mining, industrial and software technology and innovations in the earth resources sector.

Coordinating institutions for the founding institute nodes are:

Other key centers, institutions and facilities include:

As part of its mission, the institute will develop web-based services and grid technologies to ensure seamless access to data and simulation models by researchers of the institute. An iSERVO seed project and TWiki server have been established for to develop and demonstrate the approach. Contributions to the iSERVO seed project include:

Database (To be integrated by University of Southern California)

US: Virtual California

Virtual California: 1000 Years of Simulated Earthquakes. Click on the image to the movie (57 MB). For more information see QUAKESim project.

Japan: Subduction model


Subduction model subducting slab under sowthwest Japan using the GeoFEM software


Australia: intraplate model

Australian intraplate model for SA and FE simulation software. Click on the image to see the stress evolution of the San-Andreas fault system (SA model under construction). For more information see ESSCC web.


China: LURR model

The anomalous LURR regions in the Chinese mainland in 2003 indicating areas with a high probability of occurrence for M5 or larger earthquakes in 2004, and epicenters of earthquakes with magnitude M5 or larger from Jan. 1, 2004 to Nov., 2004. The circles denote events that occurred in regions in where the observed data are good enough to calculate LURR. There are 15 events among 17 (a percentage of 88%) that have fallen within or adjacent anomalous LURR regions .

Mesh Generator

US - fault patches of any orientation, turns into tetrahedral meshes

Simulation Software

US : GeoFEST, Virtual California, Park

GeoFEST: Northridge Earthquake Deformation. Click on image to see the movie (52 MB).

Japan - GeoFEM

Australia - ACcESS/ prototype quasi-static and dynamic parallel FEM software


US - RIVA: surface displacements coregistered with landsat/topography

Web Services (To be integrated by Indiana University)

The Web-based system for modeling multi-scale earthquake processes simplifies access to data, simulation codes, and flow between simulations of varying types. It provides a Problem Solving Environment (PSE) and can couples data with simulation, pattern recognition software, and visualization software. The services enables investigators to seamlessly merge multiple data sets and models, and create new queries.

Services provided are:

Simulation Analyzers