UCL Earth Sciences


GEOL0030 Seismology II

This module covers advanced topics in Seismology. It builds on the fundamentals of seismology acquired in Seismology I and discusses applications to understand the dynamics of the Earth's interior as well as earthquake source processes. It includes practical work in computational and observational seismology.

Coordinator: Dr Ana Ferreria

Module details
TitleSeismology II
UG CodeGEOL0030 
CoordinatorDr Ana Ferreria
Other Contributors 
Credit 15 credits
Written Exam40%
Coursework30% Problem Sheets. 30% Mini-project
Oral Presentation 
Pre-RequisitesGEOL0029 Seismology I; GEOL0058 Matlab
Maths & Stats Content and RequirementPHAS0002 Maths Methods I, PHAS0009 Maths Methods II
Total Number of Hours of Student Work188 hours
Hours of Lectures/Seminars20 hours
Hours of Practicals/Problem Classes20 hours
Hours of TutorialsAs needed
Days of FieldworkNone
Categorizing Student Performance Levels

This module covers advanced topics in Seismology. It will build on the fundamentals of seismology acquired in Seismology I and will discuss applications of seismology to problems previously covered in other modules such as in Global Geophysics and in Geodynamics. Specifically, it will cover:

  • Basics of seismic data processing;
  • The wave equation revisited (detailed derivations of body and surface waves, normal modes);
  • Methods to calculate theoretical seismograms;
  • Seismic tomography: travel-time inversions, imaging of anisotropy and attenuation;
  • Receiver function principle and use;
  • Earthquake source inversions: the CMT method and finite source kinematics;
  • Source spectra, stress drop and scaling laws;
  • Current research topics: e.g., earthquakes and surface deformation – the seismic cycle; tectonic/geodynamical implications of seismic images.


The goal of this module is to present a quantitative description of how seismic waves propagate in the Earth's interior, how to process and analyse large seismic datasets and how to build and interpret models of earthquake sources and 3-D images of the Earth's interior. Applications to current research hot topics will be discussed, including invited seminars by guest scientists.


By the end of this module, students should:

  • Be able to describe mathematically seismic phenomena, such as seismic wave propagation in homogeneous and isotropic media and earthquake point sources.
  • Understand the principles of seismic data processing and be able to modify and build simple programs to analyse real seismic data.
  • Have a good, hands-on understanding of the principles of imaging earthquake sources and Earth's structure.
  • Have a good, critical knowledge of the current state-of-art in research in the main topics of seismology and its implications.