Vernon F. Cormier


Professor, Department of Physics

University of Connecticut

Storrs, CT 06269-3046


Phone:   (860)-486-3547

Fax: (860) 486-3346





Areas of interest:


            Deep earth structure, earthquake ground motion, nuclear verification, wave propagation




            PhD., Geophysics, Columbia University, 1976 

            MPhil., Geophysics, Columbia University, 1973

            B.S. with honors, Geophysics, California Institute of Technology, 1970


Professional Experience:


            1990-present      Professor, University of Connecticut

            1987-1990         Associate Professor, University of Connecticut

            1984-1987         Principal Research Scientist, M.I.T.

            1982-1984         Research Scientist, M.I.T.

            1980-1982         Staff Scientist, M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory

            1979-1980         Research Associate, Harvard University

 1976-1979                Research Associate, CIRES, University of Colorado

 1970 (summer Engineer, ARCO

 1969 (summer Geophysicist, Texaco


 Visiting and Sabbatical Appointments:


           2015                   Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor, Institute of Advanced Studies, Bristol University, UK

            2008                 Visiting Fellow, RSES, Australian National University

           2000                 Visiting Associate, California Institute of Technology

            2000                  Visiting Professor, M.I.T.

            2001-present     Research Affiliate, M.I.T.

           1994                Green Scholar, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, San Diego

           1990                Visiting Associate Professor, University of Utrecht, Netherlands



Significant Professional Service:


             Editor, Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 2013-

 American Geophysical Union SEDI Focus Group, Chair, 2008--2010

American Geophysical Union SEDI Focus Group, Secretary, 2005-2008

American Geophysical Union, Lehmann Medal Committee, 2008--2010; chair 2010- 2012

Computational Infrastructure in Geodynamics, Science Steering Committee member 2010-2011

Royal Astronomical Society, International Committee, 2009--2012

Head, Publication Committee, Seismological Society of America, 1995-2000
Vice President, Seismological Society of America, 1996--1998

Board Member, Seismological Society of America, 1994--2000

Secretary, Seismology Section, American Geophysical Union, 1992 --1994

Editor and Head of the American Office of the Geophysical Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1983--1986
Member AGU Committee on International Participation, 1983--1985
Member IASPEI Commission on Theoretical Seismology/Lateral Heterogeneity, 1985--1993



Refereed Publications:


Attanayake, J., C. Thomas, V.F. Cormier, M.S. Miller, and K.D. Koper (2018), Irregular transition layer beneath EarthÕs inner core boundary from observations of antipodal PKIKP and PKIIKP waves, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, doi: 10.1029/2018GC007562.


Sanborn, C.J., and V.F. Cormier (2018), Modeling the blockage of Lg waves from 3-D variations in crustal structure, Geophys. J. Int., 214, 1426-1440, doi: 10.1083/gji/ggy206.


deSilva, S., V.F. Cormier, and Y. Zheng (2018) Inner core boundary topography explored with reflected and diffracted P waves, Phys. Earth Planet. Int.,276, 202-214, doi: 10.1016/j.pepi.2017.04.008.


Sanborn, C.J., V.F. Cormier, and M. Fitzpatrick (2017), Combined effects of deterministic and statistical structure on high-frequency regional seismograms, Geophys. J. Int., 210(2), 1143-1159,

doi: 10.1093/gji/ggx219.


Pejić, T.,  H. Tkalčić, M. Sambridge, V.F. Cormier, and R. Benavente (2017) Attenuation tomography of the upper inner core, J. Geophys. Res., 122, 3008-3032, doi: 10.1002/2016JB013692.


Cormier, V.F. (2015) Detection of inner core solidification from observations of antipodal PKIIKP, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, 7459-7466, doi: 10.1002/2015GL065367.


Cormier, V.F., (2015) Forward modeling: Synthetic body wave seismograms, In: Treatise on Geophysics, 2nd edition, G Schubert (ed.),Volume 1: Deep Earth Seismology, A. Dziewonski and B. Romanowicz (eds.), Oxford: Elsevier Ltd., pp.201-230.


Attanayake, J., V.F. Cormier, and S.M. deSilva, (2014) Uppermost Inner Core Seismic Structure - New Insights from Body Waveform Inversion, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 385,  49-58.


Cormier, V.F., and J. Attanayake (2013),  EarthÕs Solid Inner Core: Seismic Implications of Freezing and Melting, J. Earth Sci., 24(5),  683-698, doi: 10.1007/s12583-013-0363-9.


Geballe, Z.M.,  M. Lasbleis, V.F. Cormier, and E.A. Day (2013), Sharp hemisphere boundaries in a translating inner core, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 1-5,  doi: 10.1002/grl.50372.


Cormier, V.F., J. Attanayake, and K. He,  (2011) Inner core freezing and melting: constraints from seismic body waves, Phys. Earth Planet. Int., 188, 163-172,  doi: 10.1016/j.pepi.2011.07.007.


Cormier, V.F.,  (2011) Seismic viscoleastic attenuation, In: Encylopedia  of  Solid Earth Geophysics,  H. Gupta (ed.), pp. 1279-1290, doi: 10.1007/978-90-481-8702-7, Springer.


Ivan, M., and V.F. Cormier (2010),  High frequency PKKP-BC around 2.5 Hz recorded globally, Pure. Appl. Geophys.,  doi: 10.1007/s00024-010-0192-z


Rondenay, S., V.F. Cormier, and E. Van Ark,  (2010) SKS and SPdKS sensitivity to two-dimensional ultra-low velocity zones,  J. Geophys. Res., 115, B04311, doi:10.1029/2009JB006733.


Tkalcic, H., V.F. Cormier, B.L.N. Kennett, and K. He (2010) Steep reflections from the Earth's core reveal small-scale heterogeneity in the upper mantle, Phys. Earth Planet. Int.,  178, 80-91, doi: 10.1016/j.pepi.2009.08.004.


Cormier, V.F., (2009) A glassy lowermost outer core,  Geophys. J. Int., 179, 374-380, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04283.x


Tkalčić, H., B.L.N. Kennett, and V.F. Cormier  (2009) On the inner-outer core density contrast from  PKiKP/PcP amplitude ratios and uncertainties caused by seismic noise, Geophys. J. Int.,  179, 425-443, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04294.x.


Zou, Z., K. Koper, and V.F. Cormier (2008), The structure of the base of the outer core inferred from seismic waves diffracted around the inner core, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2007JB005316.

Cormier, V.F. (2007) Texture of the uppermost inner core from forward and back scattered seismic waves, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2007.04.003.


Cormier, V.F., (2007) Forward modeling: Synthetic body wave seismograms, In: Treatise on Geophysics, G Schubert (ed.),Volume I, Seismology and Structure of the Earth, A. Dziewonski and B. Romanowicz (eds.), pp.157-190, Oxford: Elsevier Ltd.


Hirose, K, S-I. Karato, V.F. Cormier, J. P. Brodholt, and D.A. Yuen, (2006) Unsolved problems in the lowermost mantle, Geophys. Res. Lett. ,  33, L12S01, doi:10.1029/2006GL025691.


Tkalčić, H., M. P. Flanagan, and V.F. Cormier, (2006) Observation of near-podal P'P' precursors: Evidence for back scattering from the 150–220 km zone in the Earth's upper mantle, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, doi: 10.1029/2005GL024645.

Cormier, V.F., and A. Stroujkova, (2005) Waveform search for the innermost inner core, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett ., 236, 96-105, 10.1016/j.epsl.2005.05.016.

Stroujkova, A., and V.F. Cormier,  (2004) Regional variations in the uppermost 100 km of the Earth's inner core, J. Geophys. Res., 109(B10), doi: 10.129/2004JB002976, (8 pp.).

Cormier, V.F., and T. S. Anderson, (2004) Efficiency of Lg propagation from SmS ray tracing in three-dimensionally varying crustal wavegudies, Pure and Appl. Geophys.,161(8), 1613-1633, doi:10.1007/s00024-004-2524-3.

Ni, S., V.F. Cormier, and D.V. Helmberger (2003) A comparison of synthetic seismograms for 2-D structures: semianalytical versus numerical, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 93, 2752- 2757.

Li, X, and V.F. Cormier, (2002) Frequency dependent attenuation in the inner core: Part I. A viscoelastic interpretation, J. Geophys. Res. 107(B12),  doi: 10.1029/2002JB001795, (20 pp)

Cormier, V.F., and X. Li (2002) Frequency dependent attenuation in the inner core: Part II. A scattering and fabric interpretation, J. Geophys. Res . 107(B12)doi: 10.1029/2002JB1796, (15 pp.)


Xu, L.,   V.F. Cormier, and M.N Toksoz, (2002), Complex source mechanism of the 17 August 1999 Izmit, Turkey, earthquake, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am.,  92, 267-277.

Cormier, V.F., (2000). D" as a transition in the heterogeneity spectrum of the lowermost mantle., J. Geohys. Res ., 105, 16,193-16,205.


Cormier, V.F., (1999). Anisotropy of heterogeneity scale lengths in the lower mantle from PKIKP precursors, Geophys. J. Int., 136, 373-384.


Cormier, V.F., L. Xu, and G.L. Choy, (1998). Seismic attenuation of the inner core:  viscoelastic or stratigraphic? Geophys. Res. Lett., 25 , 4019-4025.


Cormier, V.F., (1995). Time domain modeling of PKIKP precursors for constraints on the heterogeneity in the lowermost mantle, Geophys. J. Int. , 121, 725-736.


Cormier, V.F., and Su, W-J., (1994).  Effects of three-dimensional crustal structure on the estimated slip histroy and ground motion of the Loma Prieta Earthquake, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am.,  84,  284-294.


Cormier, V.F., B. Mandal and D. Harvey (1991).  Incorporation of velocity gradients in the synthesis of complete seismograms by the locked mode method, Bull. Seism.Soc. Am., 81 , 897-930.


Cormier, V.F., and W. Kim, (1990).  Vicinity ray tracing:   an alternative to dynamic ray tracing, Geophys. J. Int., 103, 639-656.


Cormier, V.F., Slab diffraction of S waves, (1989). J. Geophys. Res., 94 , 3006-3024.

Engdahl, E.R., J.E. Vidale, and V.F. Cormier (1989).  Wave propagation in subducted lithospheric slabs, Proceedings of the 6th Course:Digital Seismology and Fine Modeling of the Lithosphere, International School of Applied Geophysics, Majorana Center, Erice, Sicily, Plenum Publishing Co.


Cormier, V.F., (1989).    Seismic attenuation:  observation and measurement, In: Encyclopedia of Geophysics , D.E. James (ed.), Van Nostrand, pp.1005-1018. 


Cormier, V.F.,   and P.G. Richards (1988). Spectral synthesis of body waves in Earth models specified by vertically varying layers, In: Seismological Algorithms, D. Doornbos (ed.), Academic Press, pp. 3-45.

Cormier, V.F., (1987). The focusing and defocusing of teleseismic P waves by known three-dimensional structure beneath Pahute Mesa, Nevada Test Site, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 77, 1688-1703.


Cormier, V.F., and G.C. Beroza, (1987). Calculation of strong ground motion due to an extended earthquake source in a laterally varying structure, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 77 , 1-13.


Cormier, V.F., and G.L. Choy, (1986).  A search for lateral heterogeneity in the inner core  from differential travel times near PKP-D and PKP-C, Gephys. Res. Lett. , 13, 1553-1556.


Cormier, V.F., (1986).   An application of the propagator matrix of dynamic ray tracing: The focusing and defocusing of body waves by three-dimensional velocity structure in the source region, Geophys. J. R. Astr. Soc., 87 , 1159-1180.


Cormier, V.F., (1986).   Synthesis of body waves in transversely isotropic earth models, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 76 , 231-240.


Choy, G.L., and V.F. Cormier (1986).  Direct measurement of the mantle attenuation operator from broadband P and S waves, J. Geophys. Res., 91, 7326-7342.


Der, Z.A., A.C. Lees, V.F. Cormier, and L.M. Anderson (1986).  Frequency dependence of Q in the mantle underlying the shield areas of Eurasia, Part I:  analysis of short and intermediate period data, Geophys. J. R. Astr. Soc. , 87, 1057-1084.


Lees, A.C., Z.A. Der, V.F. Cormier, M.E. Marshall, and J.A. Burnetti (1986). Frequency  dependence of Q in the mantle underlying the shield areas of Eurasia, Part II: analyses of long period data, Geophys. J. R. Astr. Soc., 87, 1085-1101.


Der, Z.A., A.C. Lees, and V.F. Cormier (1986).  Frequency dependence of Q in the mantle underlying the shield areas of Eurasia, Part III: the Q model, Geophys. J. R. Astr. Soc., 87, 1103-1112.


Cormier, V.F., (1985).   Some problems with S, SKS, and ScS observations for the  structure of the base of the mantle and outer core, J. Geophys. , 57, 14-22.

Esmersoy, C., V.F. Cormier, and M.N. Toksoz (1985).  Three-component array processing, In:   The Vela Program, a Twenty Five Year Review of BasicResearch , A.U. Kerr (ed.), Executive Graphic Services.


Cormier, V.F., (1984).   The polarization of S waves in a heterogeneous isotropic earth model, J. Geophys., 56, 20-23.


Cormier, V.F., and M.H. Mellen (1984).  Application of asymptotic ray theory to synthetic vertical seismic profiling, In:   Vertical Seismic Profiling:  Advanced Concepts,  Toksoz and Stewart(eds.), Geophysical Press.


Cormier, V.F., and P. Spudich (1984).  Amplification of ground motion and waveform complexity in fault zones:   examples from the San Andreas and Calaveras faults,  Geophys. J. R. Astr. Soc. , 79, 135-152.


Bullitt, J.T., and V.F. Cormier (1984).  Relative performance of mb and alternative measures of elastic energy in estimating source size and explosion yield, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 74 , 1863-1882.


Choy, G.L., and V.F. Cormier (1983).  The structure of the inner core inferred from short-period and broad-band GDSN data, Geophys. J. R. Astr. Soc., 72 , 1-21.


Cormier, V.F., Deep earth structure (1983).  Revs. Geophys. Space Phys., 21 ,1277- 1285.


Cormier, V.F. (1982). The effect of attenuation on seismic body waves, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 72B , 143-174.


Cormier, V.F. (1981). Short period PKP and the anelastic mechanism of the inner core, Phys. Earth Planet Int., 24, 291-301.

Cormier, V.F., and G.L. Choy (1981), Theoretical body wave interactions with upper mantle structure, J. Geophys. Res., 86, 1673-1678.


Lundquist, G.M., and V.F. Cormier (1980), Constraints on the absorption band model of QJ. Geophys. Res. , 85, 5244-5256.


Cormier, V.F., (1980).   The synthesis of complete seismograms in an earth model  specified by radially inhomogeneous layers, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 70 , 691-716.


Rial, J.A., and V.F. Cormier (1980).  Seismic waves at the epicenter's antipode, J. Geophys. Res., 85, 2661-2668.


Choy, G.L., V.F. Cormier, R. Kind, G. Muller, and P.G. Richards (1980).  A  comparison of synthetic seismograms of phases generated by the full wave theory and by the reflectivity method, Geophys. J. R. Astr. Soc., 61 , 21-39.


Cormier, V.F., and P.G. Richards (1977).  Full wave theory applied to a discontinuous velocity increase:  the inner core boundary, J. Geophys., 43, 3-31.


Cormier, V.F., and P.G. Richards (1976).  Comments on "The Damping of Core Waves" by Anthony Qamar and Alfredo Eisenberg, J. Geophys. Res. , 81, 3066-3068.


Cormier, V.F., (1975).   Tectonics near the junction of the Aleutian and Kuril-Kamchatka  arcs and a mechanism for middle Tertiary magmatism in the Kamchatka Basin,  Geol. Soc. Am. Bull. , 86, 443-453.


Dev, S., J.E. Anderson, V. Cormier, N.P. Damodaran, and J.D. Roberts (1968). Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The conformational mobility of humulene and zerumbone, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 90, 1246-1248.




Grants as PI:


(Total Costs included for 2005-present)




EAR 17-54498, Seismic signatures of inner core solidification, 2/1/18-01/31/20, $333,867


EAR 14-46509, Characterizing small-scale heterogeneity in Earth, 05/01/15-04/30/18, $300,000


EAR 11-60917, Combined Geodynamical and Seismological Modeling of the Inner Core Boundary Region, 05/01/12-04/30/16,  $239,604


EAR 07-38492, Solidification Texture of Earth's Inner Core, 1/01/08-12/31/10, $300,000


EAR 02-36721, Acquisition of Computational and Analytical Facilities for 3-Dimensional Imaging and Visualization in Geophysics, Petrology, and Hydrogeology, 04/15/2003 -- 03/31/2006


EAR 02-29586, Heterogeneity, Anisotropy, and Seismic Attenuation in Earth's Inner Core and Lower Mantle,  01/01/2003 -- 12/31/2007


EAR 99- 80355, Heterogeneity, Anisotropy, and Anelasticity in the Lowermost Mantle and Inner Core, 03/01/2000 -- 02/28/2003


EAR 96-14525 Heterogeneity, Anisotropy, and Anelasticity in the Lowermost Mantle and Inner Core,  03/01/1997 -- 06/30/2000


EAR 95-- 06613, Upgrade of the Geophysics Computing Facility at the University of Connecticut, 09/01/1995 -- 08/31/1997


EAR 92-18693, Waveform Modeling Applied to Three Deep Structure Problems: Slabs, D", and the Inner Core , 04/01/1993 -- 09/30/1997


EAR 90-11439 , Fault Zone and Laterally Heterogeneous Structure: Effects on the Rupture History and Strong Ground Motion of the Loma Prieta Earthquake , 08/15/1990 --07/31/1992


EAR 89-16253 , Upgrade of Computer Equipment in Support of Research in Deep Earth Structure and Seismic Wave Propagation, 02/15/1990  -- 07/31/1991


EAR 89- 04236, Determination of the Deep Structure of Descending Lithospheric Slabs from Their Effects on Seismic Body Waves, 09/01/1989 -- 07/31/1992


EAR 87-09456, Slab Diffracted S Waves , 09/01/1987 -- 02/28/1990


EAR 85-18151, Prediction of Strong Ground Motion Due to Extended Earthquake Sources in a Three-Dimensionally Varying Medium, 02/01/1986 -- 07/31/1988


EAR 84-16921, Seismic Velocity Structure Surrounding the Inner Core Boundary 05/01/1985 -- 10/31/1987


EAR 82-18737 A Study of the Lateral Variation in the Structure of the Earth's Lower Mantle From the Synthesis of Seismic Body Waves in a Three-Dimensionally Varying Medium,  05/01/1983 -- 10/31/1984





(list incomplete before 1990)


AFRL, FA-9453-15-C-0069, Modeling high frequency regional seismograms, 06/01/15-05/31/18,  $440, 439


AFRL, FA9453-12-C-0207, Modeling the Combined Effects of Deterministic and Statistical Structure for Optimization of Regional Monitoring, 05/01/12- 04/30/15, $307,000


DTRA (Defense Thread Reduction Agency), DTRA01-00-C-0029, Seismic Calibration for IMS stations in Eastern Asia (Group 1: Table 1), 3/26/00--3/26/03


AFGL, F49620-94-1-0059, Investigation of Lg Attenuation and Blockage in Models of the Eurasian Crust, 1994-1996


AFGL, Crust and Upper Mantle Gradients in the Vicinity of the East Kazakh Test Site, 1990-1992


AFGL, Effects of a Descending Lithospheric Slab on Yield Estimates of Underground Nuclear Tests, 1990-1992


Recent PhD Students


Kuang He, PHYS, PhD, 2011

Januka Attanayake, GSCI, PhD, 2012

Michele Fitzpatrick, GSCI, PhD, 2015

Christopher Sanborn, PHYS, PhD, 2017

Susini de Silva, PHYS, PhD, 2017

Tian Yiteng, PHYS, PhD, 2018

Ravi Wickramathilake, PHYS