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Modeling Earth's Enigmatic Core


To learn more about the inner sanctum of the earth's core, seismologists take advantage of one of nature's most destructive forces: earthquakes. Somewhat like the way a CAT scan images the brain, seismologists track seismic wave patterns from earthquakes to model the structure of the earth's core. One of the great challenges is to capture the propagation of high-frequency waves, with periods of 1 to 2 seconds, as they travel across the globe. To simulate this activity, seismologists employ a spectral-element application called SPECFEM3D_GLOBE that uses a fine mesh of hexahedral finite elements, pictured here, and high-performance computers.
Image: D. Komatitsch, Université de Pau; L. Carrington, SDSC.
Source: San Diego Supercomputer Center, UC San Diego

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