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U.S. Geological Survey Crustal Studies Technical Letter Number 15

In cooperation with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

A Progress Report on Seismic Model Studies

By J.H. Healy and G.B. Mangan


Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (6.8 MB)Introduction

The value of seismic-model studies as an aid to understanding wave propagation in the Earth’s crust was recognized by early investigators (Tatel and Tuve, 1955). Preliminary model results were very promising, but progress in model seismology has been restricted by two problems: (1) difficulties in the development of models with continuously variable velocity-depth functions, and (2) difficulties in the construction of models of adequate size to provide a meaningful wave-length to layer-thickness ratio. The problem of a continuously variable velocity-depth function has been partly solved by a technique using two-dimensional plate models constructed by laminating plastic to aluminum, so that the ratio of plastic to aluminum controls the velocity-depth function (Healy and Press, 1960). These techniques provide a continuously variable velocity-depth function, but it is not possible to construct such models large enough to study short-period wave propagation in the crust.

This report describes improvements in our ability to machine large models. Two types of models are being used: one is a cylindrical aluminum tube machined on a lathe, and the other is a large plate machined on a precision planer. Both of these modeling techniques give promising results and are a significant improvement over earlier efforts.

  • This report is available only on the Web.

For additional information:
Contact Information, Earthquake Science Center, Menlo Park Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road, MS 977
Menlo Park, California 94025

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Suggested citation:

Healy, J.H., and Mangan, G.B., 1963, A progress report on seismic model studies: U.S. Geological Survey Crustal Studies Technical Letter Number 15, 8 p. (Available at






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