Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Seismologist Eugene T. Herrin obituary

From Southern Methodist University:

Dr. Eugene T. Herrin Jr., an internationally respected seismologist and holder of the Shuler-Foscue Endowed Chair in the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences at SMU, died of a heart attack on November 20, 2010.

A professor at SMU since 1956, Herrin was known for his pioneering work in detecting nuclear explosions. He discovered that certain wave generators, including explosions and earthquakes, create not only seismic waves but also infrasound waves. Based on that discovery, Herrin was one of the first proponents of using seismo-acoustic analysis to distinguish the difference between mining explosions, earthquakes and underground nuclear weapons tests.

“Dr. Herrin’s work has played a critical role in establishing accurate worldwide monitoring of nuclear tests,” said Brian Stump, professor of Earth sciences and the Claude C. Albritton, Jr. Chair in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences. “His research was fundamental in creating the international monitoring network that enforces the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.”

Herrin’s first breakthrough in experimental seismology occurred in 1963 when he determined that the earth’s mantle is not laterally homogeneous as previously thought. He won the Grove Karl Gilbert Award from the Geological Society of America for this contribution.

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