Spectral-element simulations of elastic wave propagation in exploration and geotechnical applications

Lin Zheng, Qi Zhao, Bernd Milkereit, Giovanni Grasselli, Qinya Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


We apply the spectral-element method (SEM), a high-order finite-element method (FEM) to simulate seismic wave propagation in complex media for exploration and geotechnical problems. The SEM accurately treats geometrical complexities through its flexible FEM mesh and accurately interpolates wavefields through high-order Lagrange polynomials. It has been a numerical solver used extensively in earthquake seismology. We demonstrate the applicability of SEM for selected 2D exploration and geotechnical velocity models with an open-source SEM software package SPECFEM2D. The first scenario involves a marine survey for a salt dome with the presence of major internal discontinuities, and the second example simulates seismic wave propagation for an open-pit mine with complex surface topography. Wavefield snapshots, synthetic seismograms, and peak particle velocity maps are presented to illustrate the promising use of SEM for industrial problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-187
Number of pages9
JournalEarthquake Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Exploration seismology
  • Seismic wave propagation
  • Spectral-element method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geophysics
  • Geology


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