100years of seismic research on the Moho

Claus Prodehl, Brian Kennett, Irina M. Artemieva, Hans Thybo*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    43 Citations (Scopus)


    The detection of a seismic boundary, the "Moho", between the outermost shell of the Earth, the Earth's crust, and the Earth's mantle by A. Mohorovičić was the consequence of increased insight into the propagation of seismic waves caused by earthquakes. This short history of seismic research on the Moho is primarily based on the comprehensive overview of the worldwide history of seismological studies of the Earth's crust using controlled sources from 1850 to 2005, by Prodehl and Mooney (2012). Though the art of applying explosions, so-called "artificial events", as energy sources for studies of the uppermost crustal layers began in the early 1900s, its effective use for studying the entire crust only began at the end of World War II. From 1945 onwards, controlled-source seismology has been the major approach to study details of the crust and underlying crust-mantle boundary, the Moho. The subsequent description of history of controlled-source crustal seismology and its seminal results is subdivided into separate chapters for each decade, highlighting the major advances achieved during that decade in terms of data acquisition, processing technology, and interpretation methods.Since the late 1980s, passive seismology using distant earthquakes has played an increasingly important role in studies of crustal structure. The receiver function technique exploiting conversions between P and SV waves at discontinuities in seismic wavespeed below a seismic station has been extensively applied to the increasing numbers of permanent and portable broad-band seismic stations across the globe. Receiver function studies supplement controlled source work with improved geographic coverage and now make a significant contribution to knowledge of the nature of the crust and the depth to Moho.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)9-44
    Number of pages36
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2013


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