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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Seismology (EASC10035)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe course covers two areas of seismology: Part I covers Wave theory and Part II Earthquake Seismology. The course content is given in more detail in the syllabus below.
Course description Part I: Wave Theory

Fundamentals of wave motion; seismic wave types. Stress tensor, strain tensor, stress-strain relations; linearised equations of motion; elastic moduli.
The wave equation: dilatational and rotational solutions; separation of variables; plane and spherical waves.
Reflection and refraction of plane waves at a plane boundary; independence of SH and P and of SV waves; boundary conditions; P, SV and SH waves incident at the free surface of a homogeneous half-space and at general interfaces; energy conversions.
Rayleigh waves for a homogeneous half-space; Love waves for a two-layer half-space. Superposition of plane waves, group velocity, dispersion. Free oscillations, toroidal and spheroidal modes.

Part II: Earthquake Seismology

Introduction to Earthquake Seismology - an example from a recent event.
The Earthquake Source: Focal mechanisms, moment tensors, source time function.
Earthquake Mechanics: Friction and fracture, populations, dynamics, scaling.
Seismic Recording: Sensors, recorders, networks and arrays.
Seismograms: Natural and synthetic, time and frequency domain, combined influence of source, ray path, recording site and instrument.
Earthquake Location: Ray parameters (arrays) and the Geiger method (networks).
Global Earth Structure: Layered structure from travel time tables, 3D structure from seismic tomography.
Seismotectonics: Distribution of seismicity in space, regional stress and strain tensors, relationship to tectonics.
Seismic Hazard: Time-independent and time-dependent, can we predict individual earthquakes?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Fields and Waves (EASC09033) AND Physics of the Earth (EASC08016)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements The above pre-requisites are for students intending to graduate in one of the stream of Geophysics degrees in the School of GeoSciences. The course is also open to students from elsewhere in Edinburgh or elsewhere who can demonstrate an equivalent grounding in mathematics and the physics of fields and waves up to at least the level of year 2 of a 4-year BSc programme in Scotland.
Additional Costs None.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesSee above.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. A thorough, critical understanding of advanced seismology and the range of techniques employed in this field.
  2. A detailed understanding of earthquake seismology
  3. A detailed understanding of wave equations and their solutions
  4. An ability to offer professional level insights because much of this course is informed by recent developments.
  5. An ability to critically review and consolidate this knowledge in tutorials, two formative exercises and the degree exam
Reading List
Shearer, P.M. (1999) Introduction to seismology, Cambridge University Press.
Stein, S. & Wysession, M. (2003). An introduction to seismology, earthquakes and earth structure, Blackwells.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Six hours of tutorials, some of which will take place during the Friday lecture slot.
Course organiserProf Ian Main
Tel: (0131 6)50 4911
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Thomas
Tel: (0131 6)50 8510
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