Earthquakes are a very complex natural phenomenon occurring in the deep earth's
lithosphere (its crust and upper mantle). The earthquake appears as a series of
vibrations induced in the earth's lithosphere by abrupt rupture and sudden release
of built-up stress (energy) within rocks along geologic faults or by the movement
of magma in volcanic areas. The sudden release of energy causes the seismic waves
which pass through the earth’s rocks and make the ground shake. Earthquake-like
seismic waves can also be caused by underground explosions. Sometimes seismic waves
occur when the roof or walls of a mine collapse. The probability of occurrence of
an earthquake at a site depends on a number of factors; the geologic setting and
seismic history constitute the most important factors.
The tectonic style of the Qatar peninsula is essentially gentle and quite simple.
But, the Qatar Peninsula is located within the Arabian Plate which is characterized
by active seismic edges. It is located southwest of the active collision plate boundary
between the Arabian and Asian (Iranian) Plates (Zagros Fold Belt). Earthquakes of
Zagros Belt may pose a significant hazard to tall buildings in Qatar.
Economically, Qatar is one of the main oil and gas producers worldwide and it has
intensive production activity. As a result, Qatar has wealth and great economic
revolution. Qatar’s recent rapid economic growth is led by its oil and gas industry,
as well as other industries. Recently, much major industrial and urban developments
have been built in Qatar and major advances in economic, human and
social developments continue to occur. Oil and gas production can
cause earthquakes. Those earthquakes can create negative impact to such developments.
The Qatar National Vision 2030 aims to create a sustainable economy and advance
the standard of living of its people. Therefore, Qatar shows extensive interest
for earthquakes studies to reduce their risks and to take advantage of their occurrence.
From this perspective and on the basis of the Qatar National Research Strategy,
the Qatar Meteorological Department (QMET) of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) initiated
to establish Qatar Seismic Network (QSN) to constitute the first step towards the
establishment of Qatar Seismic Information Center (QSIC). The necessary studies
for the establishment of QSIC were started in 2012 aiming to provide it with the
up-to-date technology in the field of seismology and geophysics and to achieve the
aspirations of the state and work to achieve the following objectives:-
1. Assessment seismic risks in Qatar and coordination with the competent authorities
to reduce those risks.
2. Providing information on the geophysical properties for the areas of seismic
3. Building a database of seismic activity for scientific research purposes.
4. Providing technical consultancy to the concerned authorities in the field of
geophysics, and seismology.
5. Relating geophysics research studies with the overall development plans and with
the future community vision.
6. Sharing in the world seismic activity studies, especially at the level of the
7. Execute related theoretical and practical research studies and participating
in projects of national importance.
8. Support the scientific and technical cooperation and exchange of experiences
with universities, scientific institutions and stakeholders in all countries, especially
the nations of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
9. Transfer and localization advanced technologies to cope with disasters and environmental
10. Participation in community service and development through direct and continuous
interaction with its economic, social and cultural institutions.
11. Cooperate with concerned authorities to establish seismic buildings codes.
12. Contract, and implement contracts for seismic activity with government agencies,
companies and relevant international bodies.
13. Create a cadre of qualified national manpower in the field of seismology.
14. Hold training courses, workshops and conferences specialized in seismology and
15. Participation in international conferences, seminars and workshops of seismology
Qatar Seismic Network
Historically, QMET established four analog seismic stations in 1990 which were stopped
in 2004. Each of these stations was consisted of single component short-period sensor.
The locations of those stations are not installed according to any geological or
tectonic activity, and no site tests were made. At the beginning of 2013, and after
the great development in instruments, QMET worked on the establishment of Qatar
Seismic Network (QSN). In December 2013, the installation of QSN stations was started
and the experimental operation of the network started in June 2014. The QSN has
been designed to cover the largest possible area of Qatar including the main tectonic
structure of the country. The network was designed to:
1. Monitor and process the seismic activities in the State of Qatar and in the world
(local, regional and teleseismic events).
2. Characterize seismicity in the State of Qatar.
3. Proceed with necessary studies and research concerned with seismology.
4. Map seismic activity of Qatar and neighboring countries.
5. Create immediate report for events of importance to government agencies and the
6. Cooperate with international centers in the field of seismology (e.g. data exchange).
7. Accommodate the future network expansion.
The Design of Qatar Seismic Network
Currently, the network consists of six seismic field stations and receiving center
for data archiving and processing. The QSN was designed with and provided with the
most up-to-date international techniques in the field of seismography. Its field
stations distributed all over Qatar according to the tectonic setting of the State.
Three of these stations are short-period stations and three are broadband stations.
Moreover, each of these stations is equipped by accelerometer for strong motion
Each field station has mainly 3 parts. The first part is the observer unit, which
includes one accelerometer (EpiSensor FBA ES-T) and one seismometer. The seismometer
of short-period stations is SS-1 Ranger and the seismometer of broadband stations
is Metrozet PBB-200S. Seismometers and accelerometers are placed on a solid, leveled
surface in a 2.0 to 3.0 meters deep seismic vault.
The second part is the recording and digitizing unit which amplifies, digitizes
and records the observed data. QSN is using the Quanterra Q330S+ (6-channels) for
recording, digitizing and amplifying the observed data. The third unit is the communication
unit which includes 3G modem (Sierra Wireless - LS300) connecting the station to
the internet and the data is transferred to QSN main data server through a secured
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection. Accordingly, QSN is a real-time telemetric
full duplex seismic network. The filed stations are powered by batteries, which
are charged through solar cells to supply continuous power.
Each seismometer converts the earth’s vibrations into an electrical current that
is proportional to the amplitude of these vibrations. That current is digitized
and amplified in the field into a digital value with precise sampling by the Quanterra
Q330S+ which continuously send these data through the communication unit to the
recording/analysis center at QMET in Abu Hamour area. Time signals (Universal Time
signal) are added in the field by special devices connected to satellites.
Recording and Analysis Center
The QSN center in QMET remotely controls all field stations and receives the transmitted
data from all the stations on the main server of the network. The center is equipped
with GPS Receiver/Clock for accurate Universal Time to accomplish sampling synchronously,
so that all data samples in the network are time-aligned.
Automatically and in continuous way (in real-time), the occurrence of any seismic
wave is received, displayed and recorded by using up-to-date software (Antelope
Software Package). Antelope software is installed to perform the tasks of data acquisition,
buffering, back-up archiving, events' detection, analyses and declaration. The installed
software enables the network operators to control the network, including field stations
digitizer parameter setup and state-of-health information retrieval. In addition,
the software has the ability to receive seismic waves on a continuous basis from
international seismic stations and networks.
The devices and software of QSN center were selected and designed to have the ability
to accommodate future increase in the number of field stations. In addition, the
center was equipped with two big screens to display the instantaneous movement of
When an abnormal seismic wave is detected the event is auto-picked and analyzed.
Afterward, seismologists review the analyzed events for reporting. All received
data (raw data) and the analyzed events are stored in the QSN database server.
Earthquake Activities in the State of Qatar before QSN
Historical documents have never mentioned any significant earthquakes within the
State of Qatar. Regional and international earthquake centers have recorded a number
of small to medium magnitude earthquakes in and around Qatar. The only earthquake
which occurred in Qatar and was large enough to be detected by international networks
was in 1929. That earthquake was occurred with magnitude of 4.7 and located south
of Doha city.
Moreover, the QMET stations which were worked in the period from 1990 to 2004 recorded
some local earthquakes (within the Arabian Gulf) of small magnitude (M ≤ 3.7). Recently,
the international and regional observatories recorded many strong earthquakes that
were occurred faraway from Qatar but were felted in Qatar. The earthquake of Iran-Pakistan
border (April 16, 2013) is one of the most important earthquakes that occurred outside
Qatar and felt within Qatar. The epicenter of that earthquake was about 1,100 kilometers
from Doha. This quake happened at: 13:44 pm (Doha Time), with magnitude of 7.8 and
depth of 87 km. It was felt by the residents in Qatar especially who were in the
upper floors of towers in Al-Dafna area. This earthquake was strong enough to pose
terrified, panic, and forcing people to escape out into the streets fearing on their
Qatar Civil Aviation Authority
P.O. Box: 3000
Al-Doha – Qatar
Fax: +974 44557004
Tel: +974 44551623