A distributed seismic data acquisition system includes a vast plurality of Autonomous Data Acquisition Modules (ADAM) to each of which are interconnected a subplurality of data-collection channels. Each data collection channel is comprised of an array of seismic sensors for continuously measuring seismic signals. The ADAMs include a GPS satellite receiver for providing geographic coordinates and system clock. Measured seismic signals are quantized and continuously downloaded to the respective interconnected ADAMs from the data-collection channels. The system includes both field testing capability as well means for transmitting the results of self tests. Provision is made for servicing the ADAMs at the end of a multi-day recording session and for harvesting and cataloging the recorded data. The seismic signals gathered by use of the distributed data-gathering system may be processed to provide a subsurface earth model.