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Unit information: Global Seismology in 2020/21

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Unit name Global Seismology
Unit code EASC30063
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1A (weeks 1 - 6)
Unit director Professor. Wookey
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


The course covers basic concepts in seismology and then applies them to the study of Earth structure.

The basic concepts include the wave equation, ray theory, calculation of travel times and propogation distances, and the variation of amplitudes as waves propagate. Then a series of techniques are introduced to locate earthquakes, determine seismic wave speeds in the deep earth and to infer the types of movements that occur at plate boundaries. Finally, we summarise what is known about the deep Earth from seismology.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion you should be able to:

  1. Understand mechanisms that cause seismic anisotropy
  2. Derive the wave equation and its solution for various wave types
  3. Calculate the path of a seismic wave through any material.
  4. Identify different seismic wave types in a seismogram.
  5. Identify different tectonic environments from focal mechanisms.
  6. Explain how seismology elucidates the structure of the Earth.
  7. Summarise theories for the structure of the mantle and the core.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through a combination of

  • asynchronous online materials and, if subsequently possible, synchronous face-to-face lectures
  • synchronous office hours
  • asynchronous directed individual formative activities and exercises
  • guided, structured reading
  • practical work in the laboratory

Students who either begin or continue their studies in an online mode may be required to complete laboratory work, or alternative activities, in person, either during the academic year 2020/21 or subsequently, in order to meet the intended learning outcomes for the unit, prepare them for subsequent units or to satisfy accreditation requirements.

Assessment Details

End-of-unit timed open-book examination (100%)

Reading and References


  • Shearer, P. M., 2009, "Introduction to seismology (second ed.)" (Cambridge)


  • Stein, S. and Wysession, M., 2003, "Introduction to seismology, earthquakes and earth structure" (Blackwells)