An Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes, and Earth Structure



S. Stein and M. Wysession's An Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes, and Earth Structure is the textbook I've been waiting for. It combines the pedagogical strengths of Introduction to Seismology by P. Shearer (1999) and the breadth of coverage of Modern Global Seismology by T. Lay and T. Wallace (1995). The “price” of this combination is a rather lengthy text, but it is so well written that the length can be easily forgiven.

At first glance, An Introduction to Seismology Earthquakes, and Earth Structure appears to follow a very traditional path, beginning with a nice overview chapter on the relevance of seismology, followed by chapters on seismic waves that include stress and strain basics, Earth structure, earthquake sources, and seismology and plate tectonics. On closer inspection, though, the reader will find many chapter sections that are rather novel. Included among these are waves on a string, an excellent way to introduce students to the complexity of seismic waves; earthquake geodesy which establishes the important connection between seismology and deformation studies; and plate kinematics, a clearly presented “short-course” on plate motion studies. These sections, and others like them, significantly enhance the text. The latter two in particular help give the book a broader perspective that is rare in standard seismology texts.