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Seismic Detection of Tornados

Award Information

Department of Commerce
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
1997 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Engineering Analysis Inc
3214 Greenwood Cir Ames, IA 50014
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 1997
Title: Seismic Detection of Tornados
Agency: DOC
Contract: N/A
Award Amount: $199,998.00


This project concerns tornado detection based on seismic waves. At the present time, the only generally accepted method for detecting when a tornado is on the ground is human observation. Based on actual seismic signals combined with eyewitness testimony, there is very strong evidence to indicate that a tornado in contact with the ground produces significant tornadic seismic vibrations (TSV), both long-period and short-period. The proposed program is designed to lead to a totally new way of detecting when a tornado is on the ground, based on the tornadic seismic signal (TSS) derived from the TSV. This seismic tornado detector (STD) system has considerable potential for use by government agencies for the protection of the general populace, as well as for use by the individual citizen for personal safety within the home. The specific research objectives to be accomplished during Phase I will be as follows: 1) Comparison of seismic records with tornado data to identify any additional chance measurements of TSS, 2) Continued collection of eyewitness accounts of TSV, 3) Improved understanding of the transfer of energy from the tornado to the ground, 4) Initial estimate of characteristics of TSS, 5) Design of STD instrument package, 6) Development of a test plan for validation of STD system, and 7) Complete documentation of all results obtained.

Principal Investigator:

Frank B. Tatom
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Small Business Information at Submission:

Engineering Analysis, Inc.
715 Arcadia Circle Huntsville, AL 35801

Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No