Big Data in Seismology

Seismology is fundamentally an empirical science that evolved based on observations of earthquakes and explosions using networks of sensors. Since the 1960’s, standardized global and regional networks have enabled seismologists to answer fundamental questions about the Earth, and to address many practical problems that benefit society. In this class, we explore how fundamentally new types of sensor networks are revolutionizing seismology today. I introduce students to the new types of sensor and network that are being deployed (e.g., nodal instruments), the challenges and opportunities of processing much larger volumes of heterogeneous data, the improvements to practical problems that are becoming possible, and the new physics insights that are being explored. A major part of the course is hands-on experience with datasets, through Jupyter notebooks and utilizing NumPy/SciPy/Matplotlib/Pandas, ObsPy, and custom-built Python functions.


Forensic Seismology and Acoustics

Forensic seismology and acoustics (or seismoacoustics) uses the measurements of waves – in the solid Earth, oceans, and atmosphere – in order to understand the sources that caused them. The term ‘forensics’ implies a legal application that can be true of forensic seismoacoustics, particularly in the context of international treaties. In this class, I use the term ‘forensic’ more broadly (and loosely) to refer to the application of seismology and acoustics to infer characteristics of the sources that caused them. The course focuses on human-caused sources, but the same principles we discuss in this course apply to understanding natural geophysical sources (e.g., earthquakes, volcanoes, bolides, etc.). In the course we explore a range of applications through four guiding questions: ‘What is a source?’, ‘How does propagation modify signals?’, ‘What is our data, and how do we use it?’, and ‘How does science work with policy?’.


Earth Systems

This course is a broad introduction to Physical Geology through three modules. The first module provides an overview of fundamental concepts about minerals, rocks, and the rock cycle. The second module explores the theory and evidence of plate tectonics as a reconciling framework that explains the major processes and features of the solid Earth. Finally, the third module provides an understanding of how Earth is shaped by surface processes. As a science class for non-majors, I also explore how scientific inquiry works, and aim to provide skills in critical thinking, problem solving, proposing ideas and then evaluating or testing the likely outcomes. Finally, the course involves practical classes, including rock and mineral identification, map skills, and other inquiry-based activities.