Quantitative Seismology, 2nd Edition

Keiiti Aki
Formerly with Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise

Paul G. Richards
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University

The second edition of the Aki-Richards textbook was published by University Science Books in August 2002 as a hardback.  It appeared in one volume that was a substantial rewrite of the original two-volume first edition.

In April 2009 the hardback was reprinted as a paperback that corrected many typos and a few Figures.

The current paperback version of the second edition may be ordered from www.uscibooks.com

Sadly, the death of the senior author in May 2005 is noted. 

A short memorial to Keiiti Aki was published in the September/October 2005 issue of Seismological Review Letters  (download 1.6 Mb pdf file).

Feel free to send further corrections and suggestions to Paul Richards, via e-mail to:richards@LDEO.columbia.edu



These web pages are organized around the published book's Table of Contents, given below. Items within this TOC are linked in a few places to new material/corrections, etc.   Toward the end of these web pages, are several photos of the senior author, most of them taken December 2004 at a dinner in celebration of his life and work.


Regrettably, as indicated above, we accumulated some typographical errors in the hardback version of 2002.  They were corrected in the paperback version, but perfection is elusive.  See the current list of paperback typos.


Here, then, is the current Table of Contents of the paperback version of the second edition:


Preface to the paperback version of the second edition

Preface to the first edition

1. Introduction
for Further Reading

2. Basic Theorems in Dynamic Elasticity
    2.2 Stress-Strain Relations and the Strain-Energy Function
    2.3 Theorems of Uniqueness and Reciprocity
    2.4 Introducing Green's Function for Elastodynamics
    2.5 Representation Theorems
    2.6 Strain-Displacement Relations and Displacement-Stress Relations in General   Orthogonal Curvilinear Coordinates
    Suggestions for Further Reading

3. Representation of Seismic Sources

    3.1 Representation Theorems for an Internal Surface: Body-Force Equivalents for Discontinuities in Traction and Displacement
    3.2 A Simple Example of Slip on a Buried Fault
    3.3 General Analysis of Displacement Discontinuities across an Internal Surface E
    3.4 Volume Sources: Outline of the Theory and Some Simple Examples
    Suggestions for Further Reading

4. Elastic Waves from a Point Dislocation Source
    4.1 Formulation: Introduction of Potentials
    4.2 Solution for the Elastodynamic Green Function in a Homogeneous, Isotropic Unbounded Medium
    4.3 The Double-Couple Solution in an Infinite Homogeneous Medium
    4.4 Ray Theory for Far-Field P-waves and S-waves from a Point Source
    4.5 The Radiation Pattern of Body Waves in the Far Field for a Point Shear Dislocation of Arbitrary Orientation in a Spherically Symmetric Medium
    Suggestions for Further Reading

5. Plane Waves in Homogeneous Media and Their Reflection and Transmission at a Plane Boundary
    5.1 Basic Properties of Plane Waves in Elastic Media
    5.2 Elementary Formulas for Reflection/Conversion/Transmission Coefficients
page 148.9,  noting the phrase "and discussed by Russell (1993)", let it read "and discussed by Russell (1993) and Ramos and Castagna (2001)" [then to the references add Ramos, Antonio C. B., and John P. Castagna, Useful approximations for converted-wave AVO, Geophysics, 66: 1721--1734, 2001]
    5.3 Inhomogeneous Waves, Phase Shifts, and Interface Waves
    5.4 A Matrix Method for Analyzing Plane Waves in Homogeneous Media
    5.5 Wave Propagation in an Attenuating Medium: Basic Theory for Plane Waves
    5.6 Wave Propagation in an Elastic Anisotropic Medium: Basic Theory for Plane Waves
    Suggestions for Further Reading
new problem

6. Reflection and Refraction of Spherical Waves; Lamb's Problem
    6.1 Spherical Waves as a Superposition of Plane Waves and Conical Waves
    6.2 Reflection of Spherical Waves at a Plane Boundary: Acoustic Waves
correction to Figures 6.6, 6.12cde
    6.3 Spherical Waves in an Elastic Half-Space: The Rayleigh Pole
    6.4 Cagniard-De Hoop Methods for Line Sources
    6.5 Cagniard-De Hoop Methods for Point Sources
    6.6 Summary of Main Results and Comparison between Different Methods
    Suggestions for Further Reading

7. Surface Waves in a Vertically Heterogeneous Medium
    7.1 Basic Properties of Surface Waves
    7.2 Eigenvalue Problem for the Displacement-Stress Vector
    7.3 Variational Principle for Love and Rayleigh Waves
    7.4 Surface-Wave Terms of Green's Function for a Vertically Heterogeneous Medium
    7.5 Love and Rayleigh Waves from a Point Source with Arbitrary Seismic Moment
    7.6 Leaky Modes
    Suggestions for Further Reading

8. Free Oscillations of the Earth
    8.1 Free Oscillations of a Homogeneous Liquid Sphere
    8.2 Excitation of Free Oscillations by a Point Source
    8.3 Surface Waves on the Spherical Earth
    8.4 Free Oscillations of a Self-Gravitating Earth
    8.5 The Centroid Moment Tensor
    8.6 Splitting of Normal Modes Due to the Earth's Rotation
    8.7 Spectral Splitting of Free Oscillations Due to Lateral Inhomogeneity of the Earth's Structure
    Suggestions for Further Reading

9. Body Waves in Media with Depth-Dependent Properties
    9.1 Cagniard's Method for a Medium with Many Plane Layers: Analysis of a Generalized Ray
    9.2 The Reflectivity Method for a Medium with Many Plane Layers
    9.3 Classical Ray Theory in Seismology
    9.4 Inversion of Travel-Time Data to Infer Earth Structure
Additional explanatory Figures, showing ray paths and reduced travel-time curves
    9.5 Wave Propagation in Media Having Smoothly Varying Depth-Dependent Velocity Profiles within Which Turning Points Are Present
    9.6 Body-Wave Problems for Spherically Symmetric Earth Models in Which Discontinuities are Present between In homogeneous Layers
    9.7 Comparison between Different Methods
    Suggestions for Further Reading

10. The Seismic Source: Kinematics
    10.1 Kinematics of an Earthquake as Seen at Far Field
    10.2 Kinematics of an Earthquake as Seen at Near Field
    Suggestions for Further Reading

11. The Seismic Source: Dynamics
    11.1 Dynamics of a Crack Propagating with Prescribed Velocity
    11.2 Dynamics of Spontaneous Planar Rupture Propagation
    Suggestions for Further Reading

12. Principles of Seismometry
    12.1 Basic Instrumentation
    12.2 Frequency and Dynamic Range of Seismic Signals and Noise
    12.3 Detection of Signal
    Suggestions for Further Reading

Appendix 1: Glossary of Waves
Appendix 2: Definition of Magnitudes

[Paul is working on a full set of answers to the problems given at the end of each chapter.]


The Leading Edge, issue of March 2003, pages 272--273.


The provenance of the picture used on the back cover of the second edition may be of some interest. Here is that picture:

The picture is derived from an original photo taken by Tom Henyey in March 2000, on the occasion of Kei's retirement from the University of Southern California.

See below, for this original.

Kei apparently had a preference for white, Paul for red. But a (no doubt) wise editorial decision avoided depiction of such issues.

In 2003, Kei and Paul attended the IUGG/IASPEI meetings in Sapporo, Japan.  Again, the preference for red and white:

In December 2004 in San Francisco, when Kei was awarded AGU’s highest honor (the Bowie medal), Willie Lee and John McRaney organized

a splendid and very happy dinner and celebration of Kei’s life and accomplishments.  Here are some of the pictures on that occasion (all taken by Paul). 

The first was on the night of the actual award; the others, at the dinner honoring Kei:












 go to Richards' home page at Lamont