95706 - Seismic and Volcanic Deformations

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Eleonora Rivalta

  • Learning modules Eleonora Rivalta (Modulo 1)
    Massimo Nespoli (Modulo 2)

  • Credits 6

  • SSD GEO/10

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures (Modulo 1)
    Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Physics of the Earth System (cod. 8626)

  • Course Timetable from Feb 20, 2023 to May 30, 2023

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The students will learn what deformations and surface displacements are induced by a variety of subsurface seismic and volcanic sources. The students will learn how to model and interpret signals of past or presently active processes.

Course contents

During the course we will see how sources of deformation partly seen in past courses can be considered in a more applied perspective to model signals measured at the earth'surface. We will seek free surface solutions to analyze and discuss, anhand of MATLAB codes, the displacement fields and compare it with observations from seismic and volcanic areas. We will also learn about techniques used to add complexity to the sources. We will consider:

  • Dislocation models of strike-slip faults (infinite space, half-space, coseismic and post-seismic slip, interseismic deformation), distributed slip, applications to faults in nature.
  • Dislocation models of normal and thrust faults (Volterra equation, seismic moment tensor, dipping faults, Green's functions, point dislocations, rectangular dislocations).
  • Crack models.
  • Heterogeneous media.
  • Post-seismic relaxation.
  • Volcanic deformation: spherical volumetric sources, ellipsoidal sources, volcanic conduits, the Compound Dislocation Model (CDM). Dikes, sills, dislocation and crack models, graben faulting.
  • Gravitational effects
  • Poroelastic effects


Paul Segall, Earthquake and volcano deformation

Teaching methods

Frontal lectures in the classroom, discussion, exercises with MATLAB and Julia

Assessment methods

The exam will be oral and will last about 30-45 minutes. In general, the students will be asked to talk about three topics among those treated during the classes, first in terms of general considerations and then in more detail.

The student is expected to be able to derive the main equations describing the theory relevant to each topic; be able to describe main fields of application of the solutions in contemporary research; be able to apply the solutions to solve simple problems; know the orders of magnitude of the main physical quantities used.

Teaching tools

Computer and projector.

Office hours

See the website of Eleonora Rivalta

See the website of Massimo Nespoli