EAS 4803/8803: Observational Seismology, Spring 2021

Zhigang Peng
ES&T 2256

Syllabus (PDF version)

General Information

Time and Location Tuesday/Thursday 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm, ES & T, L1118

Office Hours: Tuesday/Thursday 3:15 pm - 4:00 pm (immediately after 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 location, surface wave inversions, and microseismic analysis, etc. The class also includes an optional field trip to learn how to deploy seismometers in the field.

Recommended Textbook:
  • Stein, S.A.,& M. Wysession, An Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes, and Earth Structure, Blackwell Publishing, 498 pp., 2003.
  • Zhou, H.-W. Practical Seismic Data Analysis, Cambridge University Press, 2015.
  • Shearer, P. M. Introduction to Seismology, Second Edition, Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • 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.


    45% homework assignment; 15% paper reading and discussion; 20% term paper project; 5% Field Trip; 15% online quiz

    Homework: There will be five 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 45% of your overall course grade, with each counting 9%.

    Paper Reading and Discussion: In the last few weeks we will discuss four topics of modern research in observational seismology. You are required to submit (electronically) a 2-page summary after each topic. Paper reading and discussion comprises 15% of total grade, with each counting 5%.

    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 (double space, 12-point fonts, minimum 12 pages), 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 20% of your overall course grade, in which 15% will be based on the quality of the project, 5% on written and oral presentation.

    Online Quizzes There will be several online quizzes throughout the semester. The quiz is meant to help students to understand better the material learned recently in the class. More details will be provided later. The quiz will count 15% of the grade.
    Optional Field trip We will organize a field trip to learn how to deploy seismic sensors in the field. The time and location are to be determined, but will likely happen in mid-March. We will ask students to give a short presentation on what they have learned from the field trip. You will be evaluated by your participation and presentation, which count as 5%. Those who cannot participate in the field trip can submit a 3-page report on the development of seismic sensor/deployment methods.


    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/.

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