me-compute: a Python software to download events and data from FDSN web services and compute their energy magnitude (Me)


What me-compute can do for you


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Program to compute energy Magnitude (Me) from downloaded seismic events.

The download is performed via stream2segment (included in this package) into a custom SQLite or Postgres database (in this case, the database has to be setup beforehand).

Once downloaded, events and data within a customizable time window can be fetched from the database in order to compute each event Me (Me = mean of all stations energy magnitudes in the 5th-95th percentiles). The computed Me are available in several formats: CSV, HDF, HTML and QuakeMl (see Usage below for details).

The download + processing routines can be chained and scheduled on a server to compute the energy magnitude in semi-realtime (e.g. daily or weekly. See instructions below)


Make virtualenv python3 -m venv [PYPATH] and activate it: source [PYPATH]/bin/activate.

Remember that any command of the program must be done with the virtual env activated

Update required packages for installing Python stuff:

pip install --upgrade pip setuptools

Install the program: From the directory where you cloned mecompute:

  1. [Optional] If you want to be safer and install exactly the dependencies with the tested versions, and you don't have conflicts with existing dependencies (e.g., your virtualenv is empty and not supposed to have other packages installed), then you can run: pip install -r ./requirements.txt or pip install -r ./ (the latter if you want to run tests)

  2. Install the program:

    pip install .

    or (if you want to run tests):

    pip install ".[dev]"

    (add the -e option if you want to install in editable mode) The installation creates a new terminal command me-compute within your virtualenv, that you can inspect via:

    me-compute --help


First of all, you should configure your download routine. The repository contains a config directory (git-ignored), with several configuration files that you can copy and modify. Most of them are for experienced users and are already filled with default values: the only routine that has to be customized is the download routine (file download.yaml, see below)

Events and data Download:

The download routine downloads data and metadata from the configured FDSN event and dataselect web services into a custom database (Sqlite or Postgres using stream2segment. With Postgres, the db has to be setup beforehand) . Open download.yaml (or a copy of it) and configure dburl (ideally, you might want to setup also start, end, events_url and data_url). Then run stream2segment with the s2s command:

s2s download -c download.yaml

Me computation

To compute the energy magnitude of the events saved on the db, you run the me-compute command with customized options, e.g.:

me-compute -s [START] -e [END] -d download.yaml ... [OUTPUT_DIR]

START and END are the start and end time of the events to consider, in ISO format (e.g. "2016-03-31"). If omitted, they will be inferred (Type me-compute --help for more details)

OUTPUT_DIR is the destination directory. You can use the special characters %S% and %E% that will be replaced with the start and end time strings (see above). The output directory and its parents will be created if they do not exist.

In the output directory, the following files will be saved:

  • station-energy-magnitude.hdf A tabular file where each row represents a station(^) and each column the station computed data and metadata, including the station energy magnitude.

    (^) Note: technically speaking, a single HDF row represents a waveform. We talk about station because by default we download a single channel per station (the vertical component BHZ, see download.yaml for details)

  • energy-magnitude.csv A tabular file where each row represents a seismic event, aggregating the result of the previous file into the final event energy magnitude. The event Me is the mean of all station energy magnitudes within the 5-95 percentiles. Empty or non-numeric Me values indicate that the energy magnitude could not be computed or resulted in invalid values (NaN, null, +-inf)

  • energy-magnitude.html A report that can be opened in the user browser to visualize the computed energy magnitudes on maps and HTML tables

  • [eventid1].xml, ..., [eventid1].xml All processed events saved in QuakeML format, updated with the information of their energy magnitude. Only events with valid Me will be saved

  • energy-magnitude.log the log file where the info, errors and warnings of the routine are stored. The core energy magnitude computation at station level (performed via stream2segment utilities) has a separated and more detailed log file (see below)

  • station-energy-magnitude.log the log file where the info, errors and warnings of the station energy magnitude computation have been stored

Cron job (schedule downloads+ Me computation)

Assuming your Python virtualenv is at [VEN_PATH], with your python virtualenv activated (source [VENV_PATH]/bin/activate), type which me-compute. You should see something like [VENV_PATH]/bin/me-compute (same for which s2s).

With the paths above, you can set up cron jobs to schedule all above routines.
For instance, below an example file that can be edited via crontab -e (

It downloads every day shortly after midnight (00:05) events and data of the previous day (the download time window must be configured in the download.yaml file). Afterwards, it computes the energy magnitude at 5:00 AM (5 hours are a more than sufficient time to complete the download of all data):

# For more information see the manual pages of crontab(5) and cron(8)
# m h  dom mon dow   command
5 0 * * * [VENV_PATH]/bin/python [VENV_PATH]/bin/s2s download -c /home/download.private.yaml
0 5 * * * [VENV_PATH]/bin/python [VENV_PATH]/bin/me-compute -d [DOWNLOAD_YAML] -s [START] -e [END] "[ROOT_DIR]/me-result_%S%_%E%"


Run tests and generate test data


pytest ./me-compute/test

Note that there is only one test routine generating files in a test/tmp directory (git-ignored). The directory is not deleted automatically in order to leave developers the ability to perform an additional visual test on the generated output (e.g. HTML report)


Zaccarelli, Riccardo (2023): me-compute: a Python software to download events and data from FDSN web services and compute their energy magnitude (Me). GFZ Data Services.

Programming languages
  • Python 87%
  • HTML 13%
  • GPL-3.0-only
</>Source code


Riccardo Zaccarelli
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany