Seismic tomography: a window into the earth’s interior from crust to core

Seismic tomography: a window into the earth’s interior from crust to core

Prof. Barbara Romanowicz

October 27, 2010 at 7:30PM at Walker-Ames Room at Kane Hall, UW Campus

Seismic waves generated by earthquakes travel through the earth’s
interior, providing a way to investigate its structure all the way to
the center, much as X rays in the medical tomography are used to image
the human body . While the average structure of our planet can well be
described in terms of concentric shells, seismic tomography has made it
possible to image regions within the earth’s mantle that are hotter or
colder, denser or lighter, at progressively finer scales. The shapes of
these features reveal the large scale patterns of the convective
circulation of matter that drives tectonic plate motions, ultimately
resulting in earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Professor Romanowicz
will describe how seismic tomography works, how it has contributed to
our knowledge in the last few decades and illustrate some of its present


Prof. Barbara Romanowicz was born in France, the daughter of late Polish
novelist Zofia Romanowicz and of Kazimierz Romanowicz, director of the
Polish bookstore “Libella” and associated “Galérie Lambert” in Paris
until 1993. She received an MS in Mathematics from Ecole Normale
Supérieure and a PhD in Geophysics from the University of Paris 7. She
began her career as a researcher in the French Centre National de la
Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). She moved to the University of
California, Berkeley in 1991 to become director of the Berkeley
Seismological Laboratory, and professor in the Department of Earth and
Planetary Science. Her main research focus is investigating deep earth
structure and dynamics using seismic waves. She is the author of over
180 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals and a member of
the US National Academy of Sciences.

Lecture is free and open to the public; reception following the lecture

This lecture is a part of the UW PSEC Distinguished Polish Speakers
Series and is co-sponsored by UW Department of Earth & Space Sciences (ESS) and
the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN)