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Lamont Research Professor
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Seismology Geology and Tectonophysics
205 Seismology
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000


Fields of interest: 
Earthquakes in stable continental regions, regional seismic wave propagation, monitoring underground nuclear explosions, observational seismology

My research interests, to date, have focused on regional seismology -- a broad field where one typically analyzes seismic signals recorded at a few tens of kilometers to a couple thousand kilometers to infer geologic structure of the Earth's upper layers, including the crust, to quantify the seismic sources and their implications on regional tectonics, and to characterize the nature of the seismic sources. The results of the analyses have diverse applications in earth science and they offer important contributions to our society and environment. For example, I analyzed regional seismic signals from earthquakes in Scandinavia to determine regional intraplate stress fields to evaluate earthquake hazard for nuclear power plants and for high-level nuclear waste depository. I analyzed regional signals in Eastern North America and in former Soviet Union to characterize various types of seismic source, which is an important issue in seismic monitoring for compliance of the comprehensive test ban treaty (CTBT).
            I am the director of the Lamont-Doherty Cooperative Seismographic Network (LCSN) project which monitors earthquakes in the northeastern United States for evaluating earthquake hazards in the region and to understand better the occurrence of earthquakes in the stable continetal region. Since the summer of 1994, I have been working with my colleagues at the National Nuclear Center (NNC) of Kazakhstan in installation and operation of eight-station broadband seismographic network and a 21-element seismic array in Kazakhstan. These broadband stations and the array at very quiet sites provide some of the best observational seismic data in the world.    

           In recent years, I studied mechanism of earthquakes in Korea with my colleagues in Korea. 

List of degrees from highest to lowest:
Uppsala University, Sweden
Diploma di Perfezionamento in Fisica
University of Trieste, Italy
Master of Science
Yonsei University, Korea
Bachelor of Science
Yonsei University, Korea
Honors & Awards: 
Jesuit Seismological Association Award for contribution in Observational Seismology, Oct. 2008

Lamont Projects:

Referenced in the Following News Items:

Featured in the Following Videos:

Selected Publications:

Seismic signature Richards, P. G.; Kim, W. Y. Nature Physics Jan Volume: 3 Issue: 1 p.: 4-6 (2007) Doi 10.1038/Nphys495
The 9 December 2003 central Virginia earthquake sequence: A compound earthquake in the central Virginia seismic zone Kim, W. Y.; Chapman, M. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America Dec Volume: 95 Issue: 6 p.: 2428-2445 (2005) Doi 10.1785/0120040207
The 18 June 2002 Caborn, Indiana, earthquake: Reactivation of ancient rift in the Wabash Valley seismic zone? Kim, W. Y. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America Oct Volume: 93 Issue: 5 p.: 2201-2211 (2003)
Determination of seismic energy from Lg waves Shi, J. H.; Richards, P. G.; Kim, W. Y. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America Apr Volume: 90 Issue: 2 p.: 483-493 (2000)
The M-L scale in eastern North America Kim, W. Y. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America Aug Volume: 88 Issue: 4 p.: 935-951 (1998)