Encyclopedia of Solid Earth Geophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Harsh K. Gupta

Seismic Tomography

  • Guust NoletEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-10475-7_28-1


The term tomography derives from the Greek τó𝜇𝜊𝜍, or slice. “Seismic tomography” is used for a variety of methods that use transmitted seismic waves to estimate the spatial variations in properties (wave velocity, density, and attenuation) inside the Earth, which are often represented as images of two-dimensional cross-sections or “slices.” It is conceptually different from seismic migration, which uses reflected waves to image sharp discontinuities.


In 1971, P. Bois at the Institut Français de Pétrole was the first to suggest the tomographic method in order to locate the causes of delays in seismic waves between two boreholes. His paper predates many future developments but was initially written in French and remained largely unnoticed. In the mid-1970s, Keiti Aki from MIT applied a linear inversion to locate velocity heterogeneities beneath large nuclear monitoring arrays in Norway and Montana, and Harvard’s Adam Dziewonski began interpreting the time residuals...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GeoazurUniversité Côte d’AzurSophia AntipolisFrance