Seismic Tomography

Please see your class notes for now - this page is under development, to say the least ...

Here are some of the 3D visualizations we examined in class during our work on minimizing functions of two-variables.

What is seismic tomography?

What mathematics will we learn about?

Origin of the San Andreas Fault

Watch this:

Download video files: 1, 2

Video source:

These animations suggest how the San Andreas Fault formed as the western North America plate boundary changed from a convergent plate boundary to a transform plate boundary.


A Striking Image



What is this image trying to tell us?

This is compelling evidence that the subducting plate (called the Farallon Plate) did not just "disappear", but is in fact deep beneath the North American plate. There are of course now more modern images, even in 3D.

This is an astounding claim!!! How did they do that???


Seismic tomography conceptual animated video - video download

Other seismic tomography images


Image from: Nelson, P.L. and Grand, S.P. (2018) Lower-mantle plume beneath the Yellowstone hotspot revealed by core waves.



Image from: Seroussi, H., E.R. Ivins, D.A. Wiens, and J. Bondzio (2017) Influence of a West Antarctic mantle plume on ice sheet basal conditions.


How do we move beyond a conceptual understanding to a quantitative understanding?

That is the kind of thing this course is for ...