Seismic Wave Propagation

10 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1GE014

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Earth Science A1N, Physics A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 15 March 2007
Responsible department
Department of Earth Sciences

Entry requirements

Bachelor's degree in physics

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of the course, the student will be able to

Derive the scalar wave equation from first principles

Understand surface waves and converted phases, and how these may elucidate Earth structure

Transform equations from the time-space domain to the frequency-wavenumber domain

Know and apply Snell's law to solving ray tracing problems

Discretize partial differential equations to, in the limit, equivalent finite difference equations

Derive the eikonal equation and understand its usefulness in travel time tomography

Understand and apply Green's functions in seismic applications

Know the basic principles of reflection seismic data acquisition and processing

Apply simple processing steps to seismic data using the freely available Seismic Unix software package.

Produce a two-dimensional stacked seismic section from raw source gathers using shell scripts

Change computer code in the Seismic Unix package

Understand the concept of Kirchhoff migration and code an algorithm in the C language in order to apply two-dimensional Kirchhoff migration to a stacked seismic section

Understand seismic amplitudes, attenuation and scattering

Gain experience with receiver functions and seismic tomography


Fourier analysis

Equations of motion

Acoustic wave equation

Elastic wave equation

Ray theory

Kinematic and dynamic ray tracing

Receiver functions

Seismic tomography

Basic reflection seismic acquisition and processing

Kirchhoff migration

Downward continuation

Plane wave decomposition

Finite difference methods


Lectures, homework, problem solving and computer exercises.


Written examamination. The written examination corresponds to 8 ECTS and the compulsory part to 2 ECTS.