The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), as the government's meteorological organ, is responsible for issuing information on earthquakes and tsunamis. KMA observes seismic and tidal phenomena, collects related data from its nationwide observation stations on a real-time basis, and analyzes the data using its comprehensive data processing systems. The Earthquake Division of the National Meteorological Center in the KMA oversees these activities.
In order to mitigate earthquake and tsunami disasters, the division monitors seismic activities in and around the Korean Peninsula for 24 hours per day, and issues timely warnings and informations about them.
The earthquake and tsunami monitoring section of the division carries out several jobs: monitoring seismic activities in the country, analyzing seismograms to calculate the earthquake source area and its magnitude, issuing timely seismic information, warnings about tsunamis, and developing seismic database (DB) with raw and event data.
Fortunately, earthquake activities in and around the peninsula are relatively low in number and intensity compared with the neighboring countries Japan and China. However, seismographs often record sudden occurrences of moderate events, and historical documents have recorded a few damaging earthquakes in this country, which show that Korean Peninsula is not totally a safe zone from earthquake disasters. The average number of earthquake events has been about twenty per year since 1978, and generally the magnitude of these have not been so high, from 2.0 to 5.0 on the Richter scale. The highest magnitude recorded yet of an earthquake in the Korean Peninsula is 5.3, and it occurred in 1980.
KMA has digital type seismographs with 45 local stations and 106 accelerometers. In 1997, KMA started a project for strengthening the national seismological observation network and the tsunami warning system. The new network of seismographs is composed of 12 broad-band seismometers, 28 short-period seismometers and 86 accelerometers. This network was designed to provide an automated solution of seismic event for immediate response to tsunamigenic earthquakes. This records both velocity and accelerations of earth. It gives us complete digital data and it works automatically. When an earthquake occurs, the seismic signals are transmitted through KMA's intranet system to the central processing station. The recorded seismic waveform are analyzed and estimated automatically by software called ANTELOPE.
Another project for tsunami warning involves the installation of a sea-level monitoring system in Ulleung-Do, in the East Sea. The island is located about 130km from the eastern coast, so an early detection of a tsunami arrival can provide very useful information in the issuance of a tsunami warning. When an earthquake or tsunami signal is recorded, the analyzed data is sent to about eighty institutes.