PSN-L Email List Message

Subject: Re: new seismology book
From: BOB BARNS royb1@...........
Date: Thu, 02 Oct 2003 13:12:17 -0400

Hi Richard,
    The only thing I know about the price of the book is in the review.
$80 sounds more like a text book than $35.

Richard Gagnon wrote:

> 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.
>>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 
>>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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