We submitted a paper containing a large section about the motivation for this new format and why we think we really need this. Once published we will put a link to it here.

Why introduce a new seismic data format?

  1. The amount of seismic data available for analysis worldwide is rapidly growing. Seismic arrays, such as USArray and ChinaArray, give access to datasets on the terabyte scale that are not suited for existing seismic data formats.
  2. Disk space is rapidly growing and data organization should improve such that the different types of seismic data (waveforms, receivers, earthquakes, adjoint sources, cross correlations, etc.) can be easily exchanged among the community under one container.
  3. Modern workflows in seismology use supercomputers and the number of files is an I/O bottleneck. The performance of these workflows would be increased if the data was stored by combining all time series into one file and taking advantage of parallel processing capabilities.
  4. New methods, such as ambient-noise seismology, should not be limited by data formats that were developed for other applications in seismology. In addition, seismologists often ignore standards because adherence increases development time. An adaptable seismic data format with an open, modular design will be able to evolve and handle future advances in seismology.
  5. Reproducibility is a goal in science and seismology has yet to develop a standardized way of storing provenance in the current seismic data formats. We introduce a format that contains flexible provenance that lets the user know where the data comes from and what has been done to it.