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Introduction to Seismology


By: Peter M Shearer(Author)

416 pages, 10 b/w photos, 10 tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Jun 2009 | Edition: 2 | #179599 | ISBN-13: 9780521708425
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £49.99 $66/€57 approx
Hardback | Jun 2009 | Edition: 2 | #179598 | ISBN-13: 9780521882101
Out of Print Details

About this book

Introduction to Seismology provides an approachable and concise introduction to seismic theory, designed as a first course for undergraduate students.

It clearly explains the fundamental concepts, emphasizing intuitive understanding over lengthy derivations. Incorporating over 30% new material, this second edition includes all the topics needed for a one-semester course in seismology. Additional material has been added throughout including numerical methods, 3-D ray tracing, earthquake location, attenuation, normal modes, and receiver functions. The chapter on earthquakes and source theory has been extensively revised and enlarged, and now includes details on non-double-couple sources, earthquake scaling, radiated energy, and finite slip inversions. Each chapter includes worked problems and detailed exercises that give students the opportunity to apply the techniques they have learned to compute results of interest and to illustrate the Earth's seismic properties. Computer subroutines and datasets for use in the exercises are available at

"[...] a concise and practical survey text that does a fine job of covering the basics [...] it is ideally suited for an intermediate to advanced undergraduate class [...]"
- Seismological Research Letters

"Shearer has a knack for clear explanations and for making otherwise difficult concepts easy to understand."

"As an introductory course textbook for upper-level undergraduate students it may be the best textbook available now."
- Physics Today

"The fundamental concepts are clearly explained, emphasizing intuitive understanding [...]"
- Applied Mechanics Reviews

"[...] an excellent introduction for non-seismologists to grasp concepts behind seismological techniques."
- Episodes


Preface to the first edition;
Preface to the second edition

1. Introduction
2. Stress and strain
3. The seismic wave equation
4. Ray theory: travel times
5. Inversion of travel time data
6. Ray theory: amplitude and phase
7. Reflection seismology
8. Surface waves and normal modes
9. Earthquakes and source theory
10. Earthquake prediction
11. Instruments, noise, and anisotropy

A. The PREM model
B. Math review
C. The eikonal equation
D. Fortran subroutines
E. Time series and Fourier transforms


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Peter M. Shearer is a professor of geophysics at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. He has written over one hundred scientific papers on various aspects of seismology and is currently the President-Elect of the seismology section of the American Geophysical Union. He has taught the introductory seismology class at Scripps for over 15 years; this book is based on material and problem sets that were developed for this class.

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