EAS 4803/8803: Observational Seismology, Spring 2011

Zhigang Peng
ES&T 2256

Syllabus (PDF version)
Supplementary Lecture Material

General Information

Time and Location Monday/Wednesday 3:05 pm - 4:25 am, ES & T, L1116

Office Hours: Monday/Wednesday 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm (immediately before class)

Course Description: This is an advanced level course designed to involve students into seismological research. The topics covered include digital signal processing, seismometers and seismic networks, basic and advanced seismic data processing tools, travel time and synthetic seismogram calculations, earthquake locations, etc.

Required Textbook:
  • Stein, S.A.,& M. Wysession, An Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes, and Earth Structure, Blackwell Publishing, 498 pp., 2003.
Recommended Textbook:
  • Aki, K.,& P. Richards, Quantitative Seismology, Second Edition, University Science Books, 2002.
  • Shearer, P. M. Introduction to Seismology, Second Edition, Academic Press, 2011.
  • Lay, T., & T.C. Wallace, Modern Global Seismology , Academic Press, 1995.
    Additional material will be either handed out in class or made available on the course website.

Course Outline:

This is an approximate outline of topics and timing and is subject to change throughout the semester.
Classes Date Topic Assignments
1 01/10/2011 Introduction, Fourier analysis
2 01/12/2011 Fourier Transform
01/17/2011 no clas on 01/17/2011, offical school holiday
3 01/19/2011 Linear systems
4 01/24/2011 Discrete time series and transforms Homework 1 assigned
5 01/26/2011 Historical development of seismometers; the Earth’s background noise
6 01/31/2011 The damped harmonic oscillator
7 02/02/2011 Basic types of seismic sensors and digital recording devices
8 02/07/2011 Global and regional seismic networks and data management centers
9 02/09/2011 Instrument response Homework 1 due. Homework 2 assigned.
10 02/14/2011 Potential field trip in Costa Rica (TBD)
11 02/16/2011 Potential field trip in Costa Rica (TBD)
12 02/21/2011 Data management and basic data processing tools
13 02/23/2011 Waveform stacking
14 02/28/2011 Array analysis Homework 2 due. Homework 3 assigned.
15 03/02/2011 Ray theory and travel time calculation
16 03/07/2011 Basic earthquake location
17 03/09/2011 Earthquake relocation Homework 3 due.
18 03/14/2011 Theoretical seismogram calculation Approval of the term project topic; homework 4 assigned.
19 03/16/2011 Seismic tomography and scattering
03/21/2011 Spring break, no class
03/23/2011 Spring break, no class
20 03/28/2011 Current topics in observational and computational seismology: 1
21 03/30/2011 Current topics in observational and computational seismology: 1
22 04/04/2011 Current topics in observational and computational seismology: 2 Approval of the term project paper draft
23 04/06/2011 Current topics in observational and computational seismology: 2
24 04/11/2011 Current topics in observational and computational seismology: 3
04/13/2011 2001 Annual SSA meeting (Memphis, TN), no class
25 04/18/2011 Current topics in observational and computational seismology: 3
26 04/20/2011 Student presentation
27 04/25/2011 Student presentationTerm project paper due.


Your course grade will be based on three criteria: homework (60%), paper reading and discussion (15%), and project (25%).

Homework: There will be four homework problems, which will involve analysis of selected issues, including analytical calculations, computer simulations, or data analysis. The homework is designed for each student to work by him/herself. The homework will count as 60% of your overall course grade, with each counting 15%.

Paper Reading and Discussion: In the last part of the class, we will discuss three topics of modern research in the field of observational and computational seismology. You are required to submit (electronically) a 3-page summary after each topic. Paper reading and discussion comprises 15% of your total grade, and is based mainly on your written summary and in-class participation.

Term Paper Project: You are required to write a term paper with any topic related to this course. These can be literature reviews, or research projects involving calculations, data analysis, or theoretical results done in consultation with the instructor. The topic needed to be approved by the instructor before the spring break. Your paper should be written up in journal form with length, figures and referencing in a format suitable for submission to journals like Geophysical Research Letters (GRL). Preliminary version of the final paper should be shown to the instructor for approval at least two weeks beforehand. You will present your term paper in a 15 minute AGU-style talk; a 12 minute presentation with 3 minutes of questions. The project will count as 25% of your overall course grade, in which 15% will be based on the quality of the project, 10% on written and oral presentation.


It is expected that all students are aware of their individual responsibilities under the Georgia Tech Academic Honor Code, which will be strictly adhered to in this class. The complete text of the Georgia Tech Academic Honor Code is at http://www.honor.gatech.edu/.

Geophysics Home | Updated: Mon Feb 21 16:55:13 EST 2011