Abstract

The Mexican National Seismological Service (SSN) was founded on 5 September 1910, in response to commitments made by Mexico to the International Association of Seismology in 1903. The first seismic instruments installed in 1904 were a Bosch–Omori seismograph and a Palmieri seismoscope. The SSN was formally inaugurated on 5 September 1910, a few days before the revolution broke out; a political struggle that lasted over two decades. The SSN was inaugurated with a central station in Tacubaya, Mexico City, and two secondary stations. Wiechert seismographs were selected by the SSN for its budding network. Despite the adverse economic and political situation, the SSN managed to grow and install more stations during the turmoil. Besides the installation of new seismic stations and reporting the location and macroseismic data of earthquakes in Mexico, the SSN staff produced remarkable reports of important earthquakes that occurred in those early years. Notable among these are the detailed reports on the 19 November 1912 and 4 January 1920 earthquakes on the Trans‐Mexican volcanic belt. These reports have shaped the estimations of seismic hazard in this highly populated region of Mexico. In the first aftershock studies reported, the SSN took Wiechert instruments to the epicentral areas of a large subduction earthquake in 1907 and to the city of Xalapa, in the vicinity of the 1920 crustal earthquake. With foresight in those early years of seismology, the SSN scientists correctly attributed the 1912 earthquake to a local active fault. The seismograms collected in 1920 confirmed that it was a crustal earthquake and not an in‐slab event. Lack of funding and official interest did not permit the modernization of the SSN for many decades. National interest in the Service was boosted by the 19 September 1985 destructive earthquake.

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