Episode 162: How rocks heal

Roel Snieder discusses his 2022 SEG-AAPG Distinguished Lecture, “Measuring variations in the seismic velocity as a diagnostic of rock damage and healing.”

Interferometric methods in seismology have made it possible to detect time-lapse changes in seismic velocity with an accuracy of about 0.1%. Combined with using noise as a seismic source, it is under the right conditions possible to detect such velocity changes on a near-continuous basis.

In this conversation with host Andrew Geary, Roel shows surprisingly that the seismic velocity is not constant at all. It varies with the seasons, temperature, precipitation, and ground shaking. He also discusses how logarithmic healing in rocks is a widespread behavior that is akin in its generality to the Gutenberg-Richter law. Roel also provides insights into the role of spirituality in science and offers actionable tips on preventing burnout. This is a wide-ranging conversation with surprising insights into rocks, as well as how to live a successful life.

Seismic Soundoff · 162: How rocks heal

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Biography

Roel Snieder holds the W.M. Keck Distinguished Chair of Professional Development Education at the Colorado School of Mines. He received in 1984 a Master’s degree in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics from Princeton University and in 1987 a Ph.D. in seismology from Utrecht University.

In 1993 he was appointed as professor of seismology at Utrecht University, where from 1997-2000, he served as Dean of the Faculty of Earth Sciences. Roel served on the editorial boards of Geophysical Journal InternationalInverse Problems JournalReviews of Geophysics, the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, and the European Journal of Physics. In 2000 he was elected as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He is the author of the textbooks A Guided Tour of Mathematical Methods for the Physical SciencesThe Art of Being a Scientist, and The Joy of Science, published by Cambridge University Press. In 2011 he was elected an Honorary Member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and in 2014 he received a research award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. In 2016 Roel received the Beno Gutenberg Medal from the European Geophysical Union and the Outstanding Educator Award from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. In 2020, he received the Ange Melagro Prize for his outstanding class Science and Spirituality. From 2000-2014 he was a firefighter in Genesee Fire Rescue, where he served for two years as Fire Chief.

Credits

SEG produces Seismic Soundoff to benefit its members, the scientific community, and inform the public on the value of geophysics. Please leave a 5-star rating on Apple Podcasts and Spotify to show your support for the show. It takes less than five seconds to leave a 5-star rating and is the number one action you can take to show your appreciation for this free resource. And follow the podcast while you are on the app to be notified when each new episode releases. 

Original music created by Zach Bridges. Andrew Geary hosted, edited, and produced this episode for 51 features, LLC. Thank you to the SEG podcast team: Jennifer Cobb, Kathy Gamble, and Ally McGinnis.

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