Colin Zelt


Room Number: KWGL 311
Google Scholar Link


Ph.D. Geophysics, 1989 University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
B.Sc. Physics & Applied Math, 1984: University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada


seismology, inverse methods, near-surface geophysics


My primary research interests include the development, assessment and application of seismic modeling and inversion techniques for studies of the near-surface (upper 100m) for environmental and engineering studies. More specifically, this includes 2D and 3D traveltime inversion and tomography methods, including a newly developed frequency-dependent form of tomography that is applicable to controlled-source (picked) traveltime data. My students and I also apply 2D full waveform tomography methods to P-wave and SH-wave data.

We develop models of the seismic properties of the subsurface in two- and three-dimensions using controlled sources and seismic refraction/wide-angle reflection data. We may interpret these models along with existing information that may include surface geology, well data, or results from seismic reflection or gravity studies. I sometimes get involved in acquiring seismic data with colleagues at Rice and other institutions. Finally, I am also interested in, and teach an introductory course in, geophysical inverse theory.

Selected Publications

Chen, J. and C. A. Zelt, Comparison of full wavefield synthetics with frequency-dependent traveltimes calculated using wavelength-dependent velocity smoothing, Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics, 22, 133-141, 2017.
Chen, J., C. A. Zelt and P. Jaiswal, Detecting a known near-surface target through application of frequency-dependent traveltime tomography and full waveform inversion to P- and SH-wave seismic refraction data, Geophysics, 82, R1-R17, 2017.
Zelt, C. A. and J. Chen, Frequency-dependent traveltime tomography for near-surface seismic refraction data, Geophys. J. Int., 207, 72-88, 2016.
Kiser, E., I. Palomeras, A. Levander, C. Zelt, S. Harder, B. Schmandt, S. Hansen, K. Creager, C. Ulberg, S. Malone, and S. Moran, Magma reservoirs from the upper crust to the Moho inferred from high-resolution Vp and Vs models beneath Mount St. Helens, Geology, 44, 411-414, 2016.
Davy, R., T. A. Minshull, G. Bayrakci, J. M. Bull, D. Klaeschen, C. Papenberg, T. J. Reston, D. S. Sawyer and C. A. Zelt, Continental hyperextension, mantle exhumation and thin oceanic crust at the continent-ocean transition, West Iberia: new insights from wide-angle seismic, J. Geophys. Res., 121, 3177-3199. doi: 10.1002/2016JB012825, 2016.
Chen, J. and C. A. Zelt, Application of frequency-dependent traveltime tomography and full waveform inversion to realistic near-surface seismic refraction data, Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics, 21, 1-11, 2016.
Tian, X., C. A. Zelt, F. Wang, S. Jia, and Q.Liu, Crust Structure of The North China Craton from Long-Range Seismic Wide-Angle-Reflection/Refraction data, Tectonophysics, 634, 237-245, 2014.
Zelt, C. A., S. Haines, M. H. Powers, J. Sheehan, S. Rohdewald, C. Link, K. Hayashi, D. Zhao, H.-W. Zhou, B. L. Burton, U. K. Petersen, N. D. Bonal, and W. E. Doll, Blind test of methods for obtaining 2D near-surface seismic velocity models from first-arrival traveltimes, Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics, 18, 183-194, 2013.
Jaiswal, P., P. Dewangan, T. Ramprasad, and C. A. Zelt, Seismic characterization of hydrates in faulted, fine-grained sediments of Krishna-Godavari Basin: Full waveform inversion, J. Geophys. Res., 117, B10305, doi: 10.1029/2012JB009201, 2012.
Zelt, C. A., Traveltime tomography using controlled-source seismic data, Encyclopedia of Solid Earth Geophysics, Volume 2, Springer, H.K. Gupta (editor), 1453-1473, 2011.
Morgan, J. K., J. Park, and C. A. Zelt, Rift Zone Abandonment and Reconfiguration in Hawaii: Mauna Loa's Ninole Rift Zone, Geology, 38, 471-474, 2010.
Magnani, M. B., C. A. Zelt, A. Levander and M. Schmitz, Crustal structure of the South American-Caribbean plate boundary at 67W from controlled source seismic data, J. Geophys. Res., 114, B02312, doi:10.1029/2008JB005817, 2009.
Schmelzbach, C., C. A. Zelt, C. Juhlin and R. Carbonell, P- and Sv -velocity structure of the South Portuguese Zone fold-and-thrust belt, SW Iberia, from traveltime tomography, Geophys. J. Int., 175, 689-712, 2008.
Levander, A., C. A. Zelt, and W. W. Symes, Active source studies of crust and lithospheric structure, Treatise on Geophysics, Volume 1, Seismology and structure of the earth, Elsevier, Eds. B. Romanowicz and A. Dziewonski, 247-288, 2007.