Earthquake Hazards Program

U.S. Geological Survey
Open-File Report 2007-1144
version 2.0

Rotational Seismology and Engineering Applications—Online Proceedings for the First International Workshop

Menlo Park, California, U.S.A.—September 18 to 19, 2007

Compiled and Edited by W.H.K. Lee, M. Çelebi, M.I. Todorovska, and M.F. Diggles


photo of stone tower with top twisted on vertical axis
Figure 1. Rotation of the monument to George Inglis (erected in 1850 at Chatak, India) was observed by Oldham (1899) after the 1897 Great Shillong earthquake of 1897. This monument had the form of an obelisk rising over 60 feet high from a base of 12 square feet. During the earthquake, the topmost 6-foot section was broken off and fell to the south and the next 9-foot section was thrown to the east. The rotated remnant is about 20 feet in length [Photo from Oldham, R.D. (1899). Report on the Great Earthquake of 12th June 1897. Mem. Geol. Survey India, vol. 29.] (from figure 1).

Full Workshop Report

Read the full report from the Workshop as a 46-page PDF file (WorkshopReport.pdf; 744 kB).


Go to the Abstracts folder (including a table of contents of the abstracts)


View a photo essay of the opening symposium and the reception (September 18, 2007)


The Workshop Proceedings have been prepared with the support of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and under the auspices of the International Working Group on Rotational Seismology (IWGoRS), a volunteer group. The online Proceedings would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of the many authors and reviewers and the USGS publications staff.


Although the effects of rotational motions due to large earthquakes have been observed for a few centuries (e.g., Figure 1 above from Oldham, 1899), seismology and related engineering applications have been based primarily on the observation and modeling of three-component translational ground motions. However, rotational motions from teleseismic and local earthquakes have been recorded directly by sensitive rotational sensors in the past decade, and deduced indirectly from linear-accelerometer arrays for even longer.

Realizing that rotational seismology and related engineering applications pose a frontier for deeper understanding of earthquakes and reducing seismic hazards, the United States Geological Survey hosted the First International Workshop on Rotational Seismology and Engineering Applications in Menlo Park, California, on 18-19 September, 2007. Both seismological and engineering applications were discussed in order to develop research plans and strategies for effective deployment of instruments to record rotational motions at free-field sites and in man-made structures.

This Workshop is one of the activities of the International Working Group on Rotational Seismology (IWGoRS), inaugurated during the 2006 Fall American Geophysical Union Meeting in San Francisco. At that meeting, a special session on Rotational Motions in Seismology was convened by H. Igel, W.H.K. Lee, and M. Todorovska. This working group aims to promote investigations of rotational motions and their implications and to share experience, data, software, and results in an open, web-based environment. Please visit: for more information about this Working Group.

The Online Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Rotational Seismology showcases the advances being made in rotational motions: theoretical investigations, direct and indirect measurements in both the far field and near field, and the implications of these rotational motions to geophysics, strong-motion seismology, and earthquake engineering.

Attendees' Information

Attendees‘ Information

Maps of the USGS campus, Menlo Park and surrounding area, and the southern San Francisco Bay area

Logistical matters: Hotels, contacts, weather, presentation aids, maps, transportation, points of interest... (Logistics_1stIWRSEA.pdf; 336 kB)

William H.K. Lee, U.S. Geological Survey. E-mail:
Mehmet Çelebi, U.S. Geological Survey. E-mail:
Maria Todorovska, U. Southern Calif. E-mail:

Workshop Coordinator:
Tran Huynh, U. Southern Calif. E-mail:

Program Committee: William H.K. Lee, Chair.
Members: Mehmet Çelebi, Alain Cochard, Bor-Shouh Huang, Kenneth W. Hudnut, Heiner Igel, Ulli Schreiber, Maria Todorovska, and Mihailo Trifunac.

Advisory Committee: Leon Knopoff, Honorary Chair.
Members: Roger Borcherdt, Yun-tai Chen, Ramanath Cowsik, Robert Page, Minoru Takeo, Roman Teisseyre, and Ta-Liang Teng.

Organization Committee: John R. Evans, Chair.
Members: Gerry Brady, Michael Diggles, Sheri Farris, Susan Garcia, Marty Sanders, Stan Silverman, Christopher Stephens, and Steve Walter.

For questions about this report, contact Willie Lee.

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