Applied Seismology

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The course presents fundamental concepts of applied earthquake seismology with the objective to provide the students with a broad overview. The topics are particularly relevant to students that continue with research within earthquake seismology. However, the concepts and methods taught are also relevant to the general geophysics student interested in Earth structure and earthquake physics. Students will gain a deeper understanding of approaches such as forward modelling and inversion from the topics addressed within the earthquake seismology context.

The course gives an introduction to practical methods in earthquake seismology including source, path and receiver. As a starting point some general concepts in earthquake seismology and links to society are discussed. The course gives an introduction of seismic instrumentation and uses the seismometer as an example of a damped oscillator. This is followed by the Earth¿s structure and the seismic phases that are observed at local to global distances. Various aspects of the earthquake source are presented including the source mechanism. The concepts of waveform forward modelling and moment tensor inversion are discussed. Apart from the fault geometry, the course will also deal with dynamic properties related to the rupture process. Another important topic in seismology is that of earthquake location, which will be dealt with as a classical inverse problem. The course closes with a presentation of seismic attenuation.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:

The student can

  • explain general concepts of earthquake seismology, and it¿s link to society
  • explain source, path and receiver as the main components in seismology
  • demonstrate how the earthquake mechanism is derived from waveform data
  • discuss how the observation of earthquakes leads to improved Earth models
  • discuss the basics of seismic attenuation
  • explain the mathematics behind the approaches that are presented

The student can

  • discuss the different aspects of inverse problems in earthquake seismology
  • understand scientific articles in earthquake seismology and summarize the content
  • assess the quality of earthquake seismology results
  • select from different methodological earthquake seismology approaches

General competence
The student can

  • communicate basic concepts of earthquake seismology to a non-expert
  • write scientific reports and present results
  • discuss scientific matters

Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Basic principles of physics of the earth.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Access to the Course
Access to the course requires admission to a Master¿s Programme of study at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Teaching and learning methods
Lecture, 2 hours/week (12 weeks)
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Students are required to write and hand in a term paper on a topic relevant to the course. The compulsory activities are valid for a total of three semesters, including the semester they first were approved.
Forms of Assessment

Term paper 25% and written examination (4 hours) 75%.

Both parts bust be passed to acheive final assessment in the course.

Digital written exam, visit

Grading Scale
The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.
Assessment Semester
Examination both spring semester and autumn semester. In semesters without teaching the examination will be arranged at the beginning of the semester.
Reading List
The reading list will be available within June 1st for the autumn semester and December 1st for the spring semester.
Course Evaluation
The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department
Examination Support Material
Non-programmable calculator, according to the faculty regulations
Programme Committee
The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.
Course Coordinator
The course coordinator and administrative contact person can be found on Mitt UiB, or you may contact
Course Administrator
The Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Earth Science has the administrative responsibility for the course and program