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You are here: Home Science & Projects Deisa Extreme Computing Initiative Projects 2006 - 2007 Seismic Wave Propagation Solutions for Realistic 3D Media

Seismic Wave Propagation Solutions for Realistic 3D Media

Scientific Discipline Numerical Seismology
Principal Investigator(s) Martin Käser, Michael Dumbser
  • Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Geophysics Section, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany
  • Institut für Aerodynamik und Gasdynamik, Universität Stuttgart, Germany


Research on the interior structure of the earth and its geophysical properties are mainly based on results of seismology. Today, computer simulations of the propagation of seismic waves represent an invaluable tool for the understanding of the wave phenomena, their generation and their consequences. However, the simulation of a complete, highly accurate wave field in realistic media with complex geometry and geological rheologies is still a great challenge. Therefore, the aim of the proposed project is the improvement and intensive application of the highly accurate and powerful simulation code SEISSOL in order to provide simulations of realistic earthquake scenarios. The code is able to incorporate complex geological models and accounts for a variety of geophysical processes affecting seismic wave propagation, such as strong material heterogeneities, viscoelastic attenuation and anisotropy.

Kinematic models of real earthquake rupture processes, geometrically difficult internal and external material boundaries as well as free surface topography can be included. The code is based on the so-called ADER-Discontinuous Galerkin method and has the unique property of achieving arbitrarily high approximation order for the solution of the governing partial differential equations in space and time using three-dimensional tetrahedral meshes. The application of such highly accurate algorithms on massively parallel high performance computer technologies will contribute to the solution of actual problems in numerical seismology and will improve the prediction of peak ground motions caused by strong earthquake events. This way, more precise estimations of local seismic hazard becomes possible. By synthesizing highly accurate accelerograms the decisions of earthquake engineers can greatly be supported when designing earthquake resistant structures and finally will help to optimize the trade-off between safety and cost.

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