|Brian Stump originally wanted to use seismic wave
analysis to detect underground nuclear explosions. While developing more sophisticated instruments
for interpreting seismic waves, Stump also has discovered more about the Earth.
"Because seismic waves are useful, the Department
of Defense has spent a lot of money placing seismographs all over the world," says Stump,
a seismologist and professor of geological sciences in Dedman College. "These instruments
have opened the door for modern seismology and geophysics by enabling us to identify earthquakes
of relatively small magnitude and to understand the structure of the Earth in more detail.
As we began to make maps of quake activity, we began to understand plate tectonics and the
idea that earthquakes occur along plate boundaries."
Stump's research focuses on the spread of seismic
waves from explosions and natural geological events. He uses controlled mining explosions
and earthquakes to study the Earth's structure, as well as the physics of an event that
generates waveforms that are propagated worldwide.
His research has led to three important developments:
- Mathematical and theoretical models for representing
the sources of seismic waves and some of their characteristics;
- A better understanding of high-frequency waves;
- Pinpointing the characteristics of waves generated
by mining explosions and how they differ from earthquakes and underground nuclear explosions.
Stump and other scientists are trying to ensure
that small mining explosions are not misread as nuclear tests. Stump's recent research focuses
on the characteristics of explosions, including quantification of single-fired nuclear and
chemical explosions and multi-fired chemical explosions commonly used by the mining industry.
What he is learning about the spatial and temporal effects of mining explosions and their
signature in regional waveforms has applications for monitoring a Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty where even small explosions will be identified using their seismic signatures to ensure
Stump received his Ph.D. from the University
of California at Berkeley. He joined the SMU faculty in 1983, and is a member of the Air
Force Technical Applications Center Seismic Review Panel. He served as scientific adviser
to the U.S. delegation to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1994
to 1996 and has been a consultant and staff member at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
For more information: Brian Stump
Web site: www.geology.smu.edu/~vineyard/stump.html
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