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Unit information: Seismology in 2021/22

Unit name Seismology
Unit code EASCM0018
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2C (weeks 13 - 18)
Unit director Professor. Wookey
Open unit status Not open

MSc Volcanology students should speak to the unit director before selecting this unit as an option.



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

The course covers basic concepts in seismology and then applies them to the study of Earth structure.

The basic concepts include the wave equation, ray theory, calculation of travel times and propogation distances, and the variation of amplitudes as waves propagate. Then a series of techniques are introduced to locate earthquakes, determine seismic wave speeds in the deep earth and to infer the types of movements that occur at plate boundaries. Finally, we summarise what is known about the deep Earth from seismology.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion you should be able to:

  1. Derive the wave equation and its solution for various wave types
  2. Calculate the path of a seismic wave through a material
  3. Identify different seismic wave types in a seismogram
  4. Understand mechanisms that cause seismic anisotropy
  5. Identify different tectonic environments from focal mechanisms
  6. Explain how seismology elucidates the structure of the Earth
  7. Summarize theories for the structure of the mantle and the core

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through a combination of

  • asynchronous online materials and, if subsequently possible, synchronous face-to-face lectures
  • synchronous office hours
  • asynchronous directed individual formative activities and exercises
  • guided, structured reading
  • practical work in the laboratory

Students who either begin or continue their studies in an online mode may be required to complete laboratory work, or alternative activities, in person, either during the academic year 2020/21 or subsequently, in order to meet the intended learning outcomes for the unit, prepare them for subsequent units or to satisfy accreditation requirements.

Assessment Information

End-of-unit examination (100%)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EASCM0018).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.