Department of Earth
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Department Member

D.E. Smylie

Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar in Geophysics

Ph. D. Geophysics, University of Toronto, 1963.
M. A. Applied Mathematics, University of Toronto, 1959.
B. Sc. Engineering Physics, Queen's University, 1958.

Department of Earth and Space Science And Engineering, PSE Building
140 Campus Walk Tel: 416-736-2100 x 66438 Fax: 416-736-5817

York University 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3, CANADA

Earth Dynamics Book - Deformations and Oscillations of the Rotating Earth

Book, Hardback

Available from: Cambridge University Press

About the book

The Earth is a dynamic system. Internal processes, together with external gravitational forces of the Sun, Moon and planets, displace the Earth's mass, impacting on its shape, rotation and gravitational field. Doug Smylie provides a rigorous overview of the dynamical behaviour of the solid Earth, explaining the theory and presenting methods for numerical implementation. Topics include advanced digital analysis, earthquake displacement fields, Free Core Nutations observed by the Very Long Baseline Interferometric technique, translational modes of the solid inner core observed by the superconducting gravimeters, and dynamics of the outer fluid core. This book is supported by freeware computer code, available online for students to implement the theory. Online materials also include a suite of graphics generated from the numerical analysis, combined with 100 graphic examples in the book to make this an ideal tool for researchers and graduate students in the fields of geodesy, seismology and solid earth geophysics. The book covers broadly applicable subjects such as the analysis of unequally spaced time series by Singular Value Decomposition, as well as specific topics on Earth Dynamics.

Book ancillary materials available for download (revised 30 July 2013)

Note: Tar gzip compressed archives are denoted with the file extension '.tar.gz'. Internet Explorer may save these files with the extension '.tar.tar'. If your system names the file incorrectly, simply rename the file and give it the extension '.tar.gz'."


Honours and Awards:

  • Tuzo Wilson Medal, Canadian Geophysical Union, 2002 (this is the top
  • geophysical prize in Canada).
  • Professeur Invite, Institut de Physique du Globe, Strasbourg France,
  • NRC France-Canada Scientists and Engineers Exchange Programme, Visiting
    Scientist at Groupe de Recherches de Geodesie Spatiale, CNES Toulouse, France, 1984.
  • Visitng Fellow, Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National
    University, 1983.
  • Webster Fellow and Visiting Professor, University of Queensland,
    Brisbane, Australia, 1976-77.
  • Senior Research Fellow, National Academy of Sciences, Goddard Space
    Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, 1970-71.

Scholarly and Professional Memberships:

  • President, Canadian Geophysical Union 1989-91.
  • Fellow, Royal Astronomical Society.
  • Member, American Geophysical Union.
  • Executive Member, International Study of the Earth's Deep Interior,
    (SEDI), 1986-1994.
  • Member, Faculty of Graduate Studies; University of Western Ontario,
    1964-68, University of British Columbia, 1968-72, York University, 1972 to

Selected Publications:

  • D. E. Smylie, Earth Dynamics - Deformations and Oscillations of the Rotating Earth, Cambridge University Press, 543 pp., 2013.
  • D. E. Smylie and Midhat Zuberi, Free and Forced Polar Motion and Modern Observations of the Chandler Wobble, Journal of Geodynamics, 48, 226-229, 2009.
  • Midhat Zuberi and D. E. Smylie, Spectral Analysis of the VLBI Pole Path, Journal of Geodynamics, 48, 230-234, 2009.
  • D. E. Smylie, V. V. Brazhkin and Andrew Palmer, Direct Observations of the Viscosity of the Outer Core and Extrapolation of Measurements of the Viscosity of Liquid Iron, Physics-Uspekhi, 52(1), 79‑92, 2009.
  • D. E. Smylie, V. V. Brazhkin and Andrew Palmer, Russian language paper, Uspekhi Fizicheskikh, 179(1), 91‑105, 2009.
  • D. E. Smylie and Andrew Palmer, Viscosity of Earth's Outer Core, arXiv:0709.3333v1, [physics.geo-ph], 30pp., 2007.
  • Andrew Palmer and D. E. Smylie, VLBI Observations of Free Core Nutations and Viscosity at the Top of the Core, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 148, 285‑301, 2005.
  • D. E. Smylie, O. Francis and J. B. Merriam, Beyond Tides - Determination of Core Properties from Superconducting Gravimeter Observations, J. Geodet. Soc.
    , 47, 364-372, 2001.
  • D. E. Smylie and D. G. McMillan, The Inner Core as a Dynamic Viscometer, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 117, 71-79, 2000.
  • D. E. Smylie, Viscosity near Earth's Solid Inner Core, Science, 284, 461-463, 1999.
  • D. E. Smylie, Observation of the Inner Core Translational Triplet and the Density near Earth's Center, Science, 255, 1678-1682, 1992.
  • D. E. Smylie, Xianhua Jiang, B. J. Brennan and Kachishige Sato, Numerical Calculation of Modes of Oscillation of the Earth's Core, Geophys. J. Int., 108, 465-490, 1992.
  • D. E. Smylie, A. M. K. Szeto and M. G. Rochester, The dynamics of the Earth's Inner and Outer Cores, Rep. Prog. Phys., 47, 855-906, 1984.
  • Smylie, D. E., G. K. C. Clarke and T. J. Ulrych, Analysis of Irregularities in Earth's Rotation, Methods in Computational Physics, 13, 391-430, B. Adler, S. Fernbach and B. A. Bolt, eds., Academic Press, 1973.
  • Mansinha, L. and D. E. Smylie, The Displacement Fields of Inclined Faults, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 61, 1433-1440, 1971.
  • Smylie, D. E. and L. Mansinha, The Elasticity Theory of Dislocations in Real Earth Models and Changes in the Rotation of the Earth, Geophys. J. R. astr. Soc., 23, 329-354, 1971.
  • Johnson, I. M. and D. E. Smylie, An Inverse Teory for the Calculation of the Electrical Conductivity of the Lower Mantle, Geophys. J. R. astr. Soc., 22, 41-53, 1970.
  • Mansinha L. and D. E. Smylie, Effect of Earthquakes on the Chandler Wobble and the Secular Polar Shift, Science, 161, 1127-1129, 1968.

Research Interests

With my doctoral student, Andrew Palmer, I have been engaged in the spectral analysis of the Free Core Nutations using Very Long Baseline Interferometric observations of the celestial pole. We have implemented the Parseval criterion for deciding the number of singular values to eliminate in the Singular Value Decomposition of the coefficient matrix for fitting the discrete Fourier transform to the non-equispaced observations. We have found the Prograde Free Core Nutation (PFCN), predicted numerically by Jiang, in his prize winning 1993 doctoral thesis. We have also found that both the PFCN and the classical Retrograde Free Core Nutation (RFCN) are in free decay, allowing the viscosity at the top of the liquid outer core to be measured.