PSN-L Email List Message

Subject: Re: new seismology book
From: Richard Gagnon richg_1998@.........
Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2003 09:54:11 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Bob

Where did you see this book for $34.95? I checked with and their
paper version is $79.95.

Richard Gagnon

--- BOB BARNS  wrote:
> Hi gang,
>    Physics Today Oct. 2003 reviewed (very favorably) a new seismology 
> book.  It sounds like a winner.  For those not a subscriber, I append 
> the complete review.
> Bob
> -----------------------
> An Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes, and Earth Structure
> Seth Stein and Michael Wysession
> Blackwell, Malden, Mass., 2003. $34.95 paper (498 pp.). ISBN 0-86542-078-5
> Seismology is the study of earthquakes and Earth structure using the 
> waves that accompany quakes and other Earth vibrations. Analysis of 
> those seismic waves is the basis of most current knowledge about our 
> planet's interior. Seth Stein and Michael Wysession, two highly regarded 
> seismologists, have written a massive book that is a welcome addition to 
> the handful of seismology texts appropriate for graduate or advanced 
> undergraduate study. But with its enormous quantity of material, often 
> presented in detailed figures, and its emphasis on deep-Earth examples, 
> An Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes, and Earth Structure is a 
> valuable reference for specialists as well.
> The text covers the meat and potatoes of seismology--seismic-wave 
> propagation, Earth structure, and earthquake sources. Much more is 
> presented, though, including plate tectonics, signal processing, 
> seismometry, and inverse theory. An extensive appendix outlines matrix 
> algebra, vector calculus, and even principles of computer programming. 
> Each chapter ends with a brief discussion of classic and current 
> references, followed by homework problems. Some of those problems are 
> designed to be solved with computers. Answers to odd-numbered problems 
> are in the back of the book, and solutions to all of them are available 
> to instructors over the Internet.
> Stein and Wysession begin their book with an introduction on the 
> societal implications of earthquakes, which, worldwide, cause 
> significant economic disruption and an average of more than 10 000 
> deaths per year. The authors then present the basic seismological 
> theory, beginning with a rather long section that discusses waves on a 
> string. That treatment is followed by a more traditional development of 
> waves in elastic solids, moving from stress and strain to wave 
> equations. The book fully treats reflection and transmission of waves, 
> including conversions between compressional and shear waves.
> Theory, starting with reflection and refraction techniques, is then 
> applied to determine Earth structure. Stein and Wysession pay particular 
> attention to waves that travel through, bounce off, or refract around 
> Earth's core. That's perhaps not surprising, because Wysession's 
> research is in deep-Earth structure. The development of wave propagation 
> is followed by a welcome section on the implications of seismological 
> results--particularly Earth's radial velocity structure--for the 
> composition of the crust, mantle, and core.
> Stein and Wysession thoroughly describe earthquake sources and include a 
> useful account of body and surface waveform modeling. Also notable is 
> their discussion of ground deformation during the entire earthquake 
> cycle, and new deformation mapping techniques, such as those using 
> interference of space-based radar images.
> The material on plate tectonics highlights one of Stein's research 
> specialties, the thermal evolution of the lithosphere. The text offers a 
> clear and complete explanation of how a single physical process--the 
> cooling of the lithosphere at mid-ocean ridges--controls ocean depth, 
> plate thickness, and heat flow.
> The description of the heating of oceanic plates as they reenter the 
> mantle at subduction zones is likewise well developed. The mathematical 
> descriptions of the lithosphere lead naturally to a clear explication of 
> the forces that drive tectonic plates. The book presents, as well, 
> extended and appreciated discussions of faulting, friction, and crustal 
> strength.
> The clear, precise, but sometimes long-winded style of the book reflects 
> its comprehensive nature. The lengthy, thorough discussions contrast 
> with the elegant brevity of Peter Shearer's Introduction to Seismology 
> (Cambridge U. Press, 1999). On some topics, the book's very thoroughness 
> renders it unwieldy, and the mathematical formalism is sometimes more 
> complicated than necessary. Look elsewhere for a quick refresher on 
> Snell's law--even the subscripts have subscripts.
> The book's numerous figures are a key asset. Those illustrations, 
> available online, often seem to have been constructed particularly for 
> the text. In many cases, they compactly convey large amounts of detailed 
> information. For example, a number of figures illustrate the surprising 
> complexity of the interaction of seismic waves with material having 
> jumps or gradients in wave velocity. That complexity is better conveyed 
> by Stein and Wysession's book than any other text I know of.
> An Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes, and Earth Structure is a 
> very good text with an up-to-date point of view. It's a bit expensive 
> for a course textbook, but it is quite versatile. The large amount of 
> material covered makes the book useful for several different courses. As 
> the basis for a standard seismology course, it would work best for the 
> more tenacious student. The text is appropriate for a geophysically 
> oriented plate-tectonics course or for a course on time-series analysis 
> and inverse theory with examples and homework problems taken from 
> geophysics. All in all, it is an indispensable reference for serious 
> students of solid-Earth geophysics.
> Heidi Houston
> University of California
> Los Angeles
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