AGU 100

Celebrating AGU 100

This initiative highlights the excellent, ground-breaking seismology research published in AGU journals or monographs over the last 100 years. It is to be a list that both honors and celebrates the contributions of the past and present, and reflects the diversity in people and of research within the current and future AGU membership. Every week between now and December 2019, we will upload links to a set of 3-4 papers or monographs.

What articles in AGU journals were fundamental to your own research? What do you consider a great paper in seismology? What article used seismic data to transform our understanding of the Earth or other planets? Initial suggestions have been provided by AGU Fellows in Seismology. Community suggestions are welcome! We respectfully ask that you not submit papers you have authored or co-authored nor submit only articles completed at your home institution(s).

100 papers in Seismology for 100 years of AGU

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”
– Isaac Newton

The Seismology section executive committee will make all effort to ensure the final 100 papers chosen reflect the breadth of seismology and allied fields. The order of papers and sub-disciplines posted throughout the year should not be construed as a relative ranking.

Questions on the initiative and recommendations may be sent to Suzan van der Lee at

Week 1: Fundamentals (Papers 1 - 3)

Birch, F. (1952). Elasticity and constitution of the Earth’s interior. Journal of Geophysical Research 57 (2), 227-286. doi: 10.1029/JZ057i002p00227

Isacks, B., Oliver, J. and Sykes, L.R. (1968). Seismology and the new global tectonics, Journal of Geophysical Research 73 (18), 5855-5899. doi:10.1029/JB073i018p05855.

Grand, S.P. (1994). Mantle shear structure beneath the Americas and surrounding oceans, Journal of Geophysical Research 99 (B6), 11591-11621. doi: 10.1029/94JB00042

Week 2: Fundamentals 2 (Papers 4 - 6)

Aki, K. (1967). Scaling law of seismic spectrumJournal of Geophysical Research72(4), 1217-1231. doi:10.1029/JZ072i004p01217.

Brune, J. N. (1970). Tectonic stress and the spectra of seismic shear waves from earthquakesJournal of Geophysical Research75(26), 4997-5009. doi:10.1029/JB075i026p04997.

Brune, J. N. (1979). Implications of earthquake triggering and rupture propagation for earthquake prediction based on premonitory phenomenaJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth84(B5), 2195-2198. doi:10.1029/JB084iB05p02195.

Week 3: Fundamentals 3 (Papers 7 - 9)

Phinney, R.A. (1964). Structure of Earth’s crust from spectral behavior of long-period body wavesJournal of Geophysical Research 69(14), 2997-3017. doi:10.1029/JZ069i014p02997

Dziewonski, A.M., T.A. Chou, and J.H. Woodhouse (1981). Determination of earthquake source parameters from waveform data for studies of global and regional seismicityJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 86(B4), 2825-2852. doi:10.1029/JB086iB04p02825

Yamasaki, T. and T. Seno (2003).  Double seismic zone and dehydration embrittlement of the subducting slabJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 108(B4), 2212. doi:10.1029/2002JB001918

Week 4: Influential Papers (Papers 10 – 12)

Paulssen, H. (1985). Upper mantle converted waves beneath the NARS arrayGeophysical Research Letters12(10), 709-712.

Romanowicz, B. (1990). The upper mantle degree 2: constraints and inferences from global mantle wave attenuation measurements. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth95(B7), 11051-11071.

Das, S., & Aki, K. (1977). Fault plane with barriers: a versatile earthquake modelJournal of geophysical research82(36), 5658-5670.

Week 5: Earthquake Triggers (Papers 13 – 15)

Jones, L. M., Wang, B., Xu, S., & Fitch, T. J. (1982). The foreshock sequence of the February 4, 1975, Haicheng earthquake (M= 7.3)Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth87(B6), 4575-4584.

Gomberg, J., Beeler, N. M., Blanpied, M. L., & Bodin, P. (1998). Earthquake triggering by transient and static deformations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth103(B10), 24411-24426.

Vidale, J. E., Agnew, D. C., Johnston, M. J., & Oppenheimer, D. H. (1998). Absence of earthquake correlation with Earth tides: An indication of high preseismic fault stress rate. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth103(B10), 24567-24572.

Week 6: Modeling the Upper Mantle (Papers 16 - 18)

Mavko, G., & Nur, A. (1975). Melt squirt in the asthenosphereJournal of Geophysical Research80(11), 1444-1448.

Burdick, L. J., & Helmberger, D. V. (1978). The upper mantle P velocity structure of the western United States. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth83(B4), 1699-1712.

Woodhouse, J. H., & Dziewonski, A. M. (1984). Mapping the upper mantle: Three‐dimensional modeling of Earth structure by inversion of seismic waveformsJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth89(B7), 5953-5986.

Week 7: Anisotropy (Papers 19 - 20)

Savage, M. K. (1999). Seismic anisotropy and mantle deformation: what have we learned from shear wave splitting?Reviews of Geophysics37(1), 65-106. 

Silver, P. G., & Chan, W. W. (1991). Shear wave splitting and subcontinental mantle deformation. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth96(B10), 16429-16454.

Week 8: Heterogeneity in the Lithosphere (Papers 21 - 23)

Aki, K., & Chouet, B. (1975). Origin of coda waves: source, attenuation, and scattering effects. Journal of geophysical research80(23), 3322-3342.

Aki, K., Christoffersson, A., & Husebye, E. S. (1977). Determination of the three‐dimensional seismic structure of the lithosphere. Journal of Geophysical Research82(2), 277-296.

Thurber, C. H. (1983). Earthquake locations and three‐dimensional crustal structure in the Coyote Lake area, central California. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth88(B10), 8226-8236.

Week 9: The Core-Mantle Boundary (Papers 24 - 25)

Phinney, R. A., & Alexander, S. S. (1966). P wave diffraction theory and the structure of the core‐mantle boundary. Journal of Geophysical Research71(24), 5959-5975. 

Doornbos, D. J. (1983). Present seismic evidence for a boundary layer at the base of the mantleJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth88(B4), 3498-3505.

Week 10: Mapping the Ocean (Papers 26 - 27)

Atwater, T., & Mudie, J. D. (1973). Detailed near‐bottom geophysical study of the Gorda Rise. Journal of Geophysical Research78(35), 8665-8686.

Holbrook, W. S., Reiter, E. C., Purdy, G. M., Sawyer, D., Stoffa, P. L., Austin Jr, J. A., & Makris, J. (1994). Deep structure of the US Atlantic continental margin, offshore South Carolina, from coincident ocean bottom and multichannel seismic dataJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth99(B5), 9155-9178.


Week 11: Ambient Noise (Papers 28 - 29)

Shapiro, N. M., & Campillo, M. (2004). Emergence of broadband Rayleigh waves from correlations of the ambient seismic noise. Geophysical Research Letters31(7).

Yang, Y., Ritzwoller, M. H., Lin, F. C., Moschetti, M. P., & Shapiro, N. M. (2008). Structure of the crust and uppermost mantle beneath the western United States revealed by ambient noise and earthquake tomography. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth113(B12).

Week 12: Mineral Physics and Seismology (Papers 28 - 29)

Ida, Y. (1972). Cohesive force across the tip of a longitudinal‐shear crack and Griffith's specific surface energy. Journal of Geophysical Research77(20), 3796-3805.

Ito, E., & Takahashi, E. (1989). Postspinel transformations in the system Mg2SiO4‐Fe2SiO4 and some geophysical implicationsJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth94(B8), 10637-10646.

Week 13: The Core (Papers 32 - 34)

Morelli, A., Dziewonski, A. M., & Woodhouse, J. H. (1986). Anisotropy of the inner core inferred from PKIKP travel times. Geophysical Research Letters13(13), 1545-1548.

Woodhouse, J. H., Giardini, D., & Li, X. D. (1986). Evidence for inner core anisotropy from splitting in free oscillation spectra. Geophys. Res. Lett.13, 1545-1548.

Shearer, P. M., & Toy, K. M. (1991). PKP (BC) versus PKP (DF) differential travel times and aspherical structure in the Earth's inner core. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth96(B2), 2233-2247.

Week 14: Mantle Reflections (Papers 35 - 36)

Wajeman, N. (1988). Detection of underside P reflections at mantle discontinuities by stacking broadband data. Geophysical Research Letters15(7), 669-672.

Revenaugh, J., & Jordan, T. H. (1991). Mantle layering from ScS reverberations: 2. The transition zone. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth96(B12), 19763-19780.

Week 15: Regional Focus - South America (Papers 37 - 38)

James, D. E. (1971). Andean crustal and upper mantle structure. Journal of Geophysical Research76(14), 3246-3271.

Assumpcao, M. (1992). The regional intraplate stress field in South America. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth97(B8), 11889-11903.

Week 16: Stress Week (Papers 39 - 41)

Jongens, R., (active special issue). Stress at Active Plate Boundaries - Measurement and Analysis, and Implications for Seismic Hazard. JGR: Solid Earth.

Allmann, B. P., & Shearer, P. M. (2009). Global variations of stress drop for moderate to large earthquakes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth114(B1).

Hardebeck, J. L., & Okada, T. (2018). Temporal stress changes caused by earthquakes: a review. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth123(2), 1350-1365.