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Seismology

The branch of geophysics that studies earthquakes, including the causes and consequences, as well as measures to protect man-made structures. Seismic waves are the primary source of information. The interpretation of recordings of seismic waves makes it possible to study earthquakes, learn about the earth s structure, find deposits of useful minerals, and determine the location of explosions, for example, nuclear explosions. The prediction of earthquakes involves predicting the place, force, and time of occurrence. The problem of predicting the time and place of strong earthquakes is exceptionally difficult and has not yet been solved. The difficulty arises from the need to obtain information on processes occurring deep within the earth and the slow speed of differentiated tectonic movements that lead to earthquakes. Work in this direction involves the search for advanced indications of earthquakes. Such indications are phenomena caused by changes in the physicomechanical properties of the earth s crust and mantle preceding an earthquake. They include variations over time in the propagation velocities of earthquake waves, a raising or lowering of the level of the ocean several hours before strong earthquakes, and a change in the electrical resistance of rocks. Seismic zoning provides some degree of prediction by identifying the regions of potential maximum force and the average frequency of earthquakes. In order to do this, data from a network of seismological stations concerning the position of epicenters, depths of foci, magnitudes, and intensity of recorded earthquakes are analyzed and the correspondence of earthquakes to particular geological structures and regions of recent, intense tectonic movements is determined. Seismic observations are optimized by the rational selection of sites for seismological stations; proper site selection ensures good access to seismically active zones and minimizes seismic noise levels (microseisms). Seismic zones are determined more precisely by seismic microzoning based on geological engineering surveying and seismometer observations. These studies provide the necessary data for earthquakeresistant construction and constitute the subject of engineering seismology. An important problem in seismology is the obtaining of data whose interpretation will make possible a representation of the structure of the solid earth, that is, of the earth s crust, mantle, and core. Seismic waves and changes in the velocities of such waves within the earth s interior provide the basic material for this representation. Travel-time curves are used to solve this problem. A new branch of seismology the physics of earthquake foci developed in the early 1970 s. This branch synthesizes data from seismology proper, theoretical mechanics, and the physics of rock disintegration. It studies the chief parameters of the focus: depth, dimensions, position of the rupture plane, seismic moment, and the characteristics of the processes of preparation, occurrence, and propagation of the rupture of rocks within the earth s interior.

Modern seismology has available highly sensitive measuring equipment. The information received at seismological stations is processed by computers and automatic devices. A special branch of seismology called seismometry develops instruments and techniques for recording seismic oscillations. Seismology arose in answer to the desire to explain the causes of destructive earthquakes and to find ways to build earthquake-resistant buildings. It developed as a separate science in the second half of the 19th century in connection with advances in geology and physics. In the late 19th century seismology began using instrument observations and physicomathematical methods of investigation. Among the scientists who made major contributions to the development of seismology were the Russian B. B. Golitsyn, the German geophysicist E. Wiechert (late 19th and early 20th centuries), B. Gutenberg, the British scientists J. Milne (second half of the 19th century) and H. Jeffreys, the Yugoslav geophysicist A. Mohorovi i , and the Japanese scientist F. Omori (early 20th century). The Seismic Commission of the Russian Geographic Society was founded in Russia in 1888. The beginning of instrument seismology is linked with the establishment of the Permanent Central Seismic Commission of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1900. In the USSR the primary research in seismology is carried on by the O. Iu. Shmidt Institute of Lithosphere Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (known as the Institute of Seismology of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1928 to 1947 and as the Geophysical Institute from 1947 to 1956). Seismological institutions were established in the Union republics beginning in the 1930 s. In 1974 seismological research was being conducted by more than 30 specialized institutions and was being coordinated by the Interdepartmental Council on Seismology and Earthquake-resistant Construction (MSSSS) of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. International coordination in seismology is handled by the International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth s Interior of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics. The chief periodical on seismology in the USSR is Izvestiia AN SSSR: Seriia geofizicheskaia (Proceedings of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR: Geophysical Series; since 1965, under the title Seriia fiziki Zemli [Physics of the Earth Series]). The major foreign periodicals are the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (Stanford, since 1911), Bulletin of the Earthquake Research Institute, Tokyo University (Tokyo, since 1926), Journal of Physics of the Earth (Tokyo, since 1952), and Geophysical Journal: Royal Astronomical Society (London, since 1958). Applications of Seismology One aspect of seismology is concerned with measuring the speeds at which seismic waves travel through the earth. Past earthquake studies have shown that P, or primary/compressional, waves travel fastest through the earth; S, or secondary/transverse, waves cannot pass through liquids, allowing scientists to discern the earth's many boundary layers known as the crust, mantle, and core. For example, the disappearance of S waves below 1,800 mi (2,900 km) shows that the outer core of the earth is liquid. Seismologists also prepare seismic risk maps for earthquake-prone countries; these indicate the degree of seismic danger. In addition, seismologists use earthquake data to determine plate

boundaries (see plate tectonics); active earthquake areas generally coincide with plate margins, both destructive and growing, and transform faults. An important commercial application of seismology is its use in prospecting for oil deposits. The first oil field to be discovered by this method was found in Texas in 1924. A portable seismograph is set up in the area to be investigated, and an explosive energy source is activated nearby; formerly, explosives such as dynamite were used to create the seismic waves, but they have been largely replaced by highenergy vibrators on land and air-gun arrays at sea. The waves generated are received by detectors known as geophones; on land, these are commonly placed in a fan-shaped pattern on the ground. From an interpretation of the waves created by the energy source and recorded by the seismograph, the detection of geological structures in which oil may be trapped is possible. Seismic methods are sometimes used to locate subsurface water and to detect the underlying structure of the oceanic and continental crust. With the development of underground testing of nuclear devices, seismographic stations for their detection were set up throughout the world. Under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (signed 1996 but not yet in force) an international monitoring system has been set up which includes many seismic stations; the detailed data collected is also used by contributing nations for purposes other than monitoring nuclear tests. Career in Seismology and Earthquake Engineering Seismology ( the word is derived from the Greek Seismos which means earthquake and logos means science ) is the scientific study of earthquakes and the movement of waves through the earth. The field also includes studies of variants such as seaquakes, volcanoes and plate tectonics in general and consequential phenomena such as tsunamis. An earthquake occurs due to the sudden, sometimes violent movement of the earth s surface, caused by release of energy in the earth s crust. The crust of the earth when subjected to tectonic forces bends slightly. When the stress or pressure exceeds the strength of the rocks, then it breaks and snaps into a new position. Vibrations called seismic waves are thus generated and that travel both within the earth and along its surface. Earthquakes produce different types of seismic waves. These waves travel through rock, and provide an effective way to see events and structures deep inside the earth. The process of mapping sub surface features is a specialty, called seismography. Seismic waves are the waves of energy caused by the sudden breaking of rock within the earth or an explosion. They are recorded on Seismographs. Seismic waves produced by explosions have been used to map salt domes and other oil bearing rocks, faults ( cracks in deep rock ), rock types, and long buried giant meteor craters. The Objectives of Seismology : As we know that the earthquake is a natural event which sometimes produces disastrous effects, causes great loss to mankind, people who have been suffering in the grip of poverty. To get rid of these

problems one must know the natural phenomenon with the technological means of protecting people from harm. Earthquake hazards are related to soil conditions, geological structure and tectonic activity, which must be studied on a regional basis. In between, the seismologist and the people who need protection from the effects of earthquakes, we find an earthquake engineer, who has the responsibility of ensuring that new structures have the proper degree of resistance to the earthquake hazards of their environment. His interests unite with those of the seismologist in the estimation of the size and frequency of earthquakes in various parts of the world, and with architects, planners and insurance companies at the other end of the scale. In view of the essential continuity of interest until quite recently, it is a remarkable fact that interaction between the major groups remained at a comparatively low level. Interestingly, the situation is now improving, and numerous meetings are now taking place with the object of improving the understanding of the overall problem. The Report of the Intergovernmental Meeting on the Assessment and Mitigation of Earthquake Risk ( UNESCO, 1976 ) makes an important contribution in this respect. Advanced Application of Seismology in Mines Seismic monitoring systems have become integral tools for rock mechanics monitoring in underground, hard rock mines. Most mines only use a fraction of the data recorded by their systems, with most data used reactively following large seismic events, rather than proactively to identify potential rock mass failures. This four day short course will provide a solid technical background to the topic of seismicity in mines using a blend of theoretical lectures, practical examples and case studies of mine seismology and applied rock mechanics. Each day there will be numerous hands-on, tutorial style sessions. The course will utilise the ACG s MS-RAP software (the Mine Seismicity Risk Analysis Program) to investigate seismic data and evaluate seismic hazard and seismic source mechanisms in mines. A temporary MS-RAP license will be provided to all participants of the course. Participants are encouraged to bring in their own seismic data and mine plans and to use MS-RAP to unlock new information contained within their seismic data.