Seismic refraction in MATLAB
This activity was selected for the Teaching Computation in the Sciences Using MATLAB Peer Reviewed Teaching Collection
This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are
- Computational, Quantitative, and Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
- Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
- Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see https://serc.carleton.edu/teaching_computation/materials/activity_review.html.
This page first made public: Oct 7, 2015
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
The step-by-step guide to running the MATLAB scripts is in the attached file: Refraction in MATLAB (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 117kB Sep24 15)
This activity requires MATLAB functions:
After doing this activity students should be able to explain how travel times and crossover distances change when layer thickness and velocities change. They should be able to explain why this is (e.g. the head wave spend more time traveling through a thicker top layer). They should be able to explain that if a survey does not include arrivals on either side of the crossover, it is impossible find the speeds of both layers. For a three layer system, students should be able to see that a thin middle layer may not ever be the first arriving layer, and thus may not be identified in refraction surveys. Finally, they should be able to see and explain why there are no head wave arrivals from a low velocity layer.