Python and geophysics

Robert Kern kern at
Thu Feb 20 02:50:12 CET 2003

In article <20030219110558.GB677 at>,
	jsaul <jsaul at> writes:
> Hi there,
> I am wondering how many out there are using Python in geophysics,
> and in particular, seismology. I think that Python has a
> tremendous potential for many kinds of geophysical analyses, but
> I have yet to come across people how actually use it for that.

I am a geophysics undergrad who uses Python, well, everywhere, though I'll admit
my finite element codes are rather lightweight so far. :-)

More seriously, I am currently employed to rewrite the scripting interface to
ROI_PAC, a package that analyzes repeat-orbit InSAR data for geodynamics
studies. I never quite understood why people despise Perl so much until I've had
to wade through the current code to rewrite it in Python. It's so much better
in Python.

I know of another project here at Caltech that's using Python to drive large
parallel geodynamics simulations. The framework they are using is called Pyre;
it was written by Michael Aivazis if you want to Google for it. There's not much
information available (I'm not sure if Caltech Tech Transfer is going to let it
go Open Source), but you can find a few PowerPoint presentations. The geophysics
department's projects are just getting started, so I don't think there's any
information floating around about them yet.

But yes, Python is starting to get used at Caltech's geophysics department. It
got me a job even.  :-)

Robert Kern
kern at

"In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
 Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
  -- Richard Harter

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