Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Grand Challenges for Seismology



Seismology is the study of the propagation of elastic waves, the sources that generate them, and the structures through which they propagate. It also is a fundamental, high-resolution tool for exploring the interior of the Earth from crust to core, as well as other bodies in the solar system. A remarkable diversity of multidisciplinary societal applications of seismology has emerged, including hydrocarbon and resource exploration, earthquake detection and hazard assessment, nuclear test monitoring and treaty verification, volcano and tsunami warning systems, and aquifer characterization. New directions in seismology are evolving that are relevant to climate and environmental change, such as resolving fine-scale seismic stratigraphy, monitoring carbon sequestration, detecting sudden movements of glaciers and ice sheets, mapping the internal fine structure of the ocean, and reconstructing the twentieth-century history of global storm activity from ocean-generated seismic noise.