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Faculty Profile

Hua-Wei ZhouHua-Wei Zhou

Sheriff College Professor in Geophysics

Curriculum Vitae

Office: Science & Research 1, 335
Contact: hzhou@uh.edu - 713-743-3440

Education: Ph.D., 1989, California Institute of Technology
M.S., 1984, Geology, California State University, Long Beach
B.S., 1980, Mathematics, Wuhan Institute of Geology

Accepting Graduate Students? Yes

My research interest is in using geophysics to solve problems in solid Earth and exploration geosciences. In the past thirty years, I have participated in projects involving mantle tomography, seismo-tectonics, velocity model building, seismic migration, hypocentral determination, reservoir characterization, and seismic imaging from reservoir to crustal scales. It is exciting to work in geophysics because it is useful in revealing the nature of Earth and characters of subsurface structure and resources such as petroleum and mineral deposits. The targets of our studies range from global anomalies such as subduction zones, to crustal structure of a region, and to local features such as oil and gas reservoirs.

Areas of Expertise

  • Exploration geophysics
  • Earthquake seismology
  • Digital data processing
  • Geodynamics
  • Seismic tomography

Professional Experience

  • 9/12 – present: Sheriff College Professor in Geophysics, Dept of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, University of Houston
  • 10/10 –present: Lv-Ka Scholar, 1000Plan Professor, College of Marine Geoscience, Ocean University of China, Qingdao, China
  • 2/13 – 8/19: Department Chair, Dept of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, University of Houston
  • 8/07 – 8/12: Professor & Joe Pevehouse Endowed Chair of Exploration Geophysics, Dept of Geosciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock
  • 10/05 – 9/10: Guest Professor & Chu-Tian Scholar, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China
  • 8/98 – 7/07: Acting Director, Associate Director, Allied Geophysical Lab, University of Houston
  • 8/98 – 7/07: Associate Professor, Professor, Dept of Geosciences, University of Houston
  • 5/97 – 7/98: Research Specialist, Exxon Production Research Co., Houston
  • 11/89 – 5/97: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Dept of Geosciences, U. of Houston
  • 8/84 – 10/89: Graduate Research Assistant, Seismological Lab, Caltech, Pasadena, CA
  • 6/82 – 5/84: Graduate Research Assistant, Dept of Geos., CalState University, Long Beach, CA
  • 6/80 – 5/82: Lecturer, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China
  • 10/75 – 3/77: Assistant Geologist, Geological Survey of Jiangsu Province, Nanjing, China

Recent Projects

  • Fundamental research on a sparker and stereo-sensor detection system & seismic imaging of top submarine strata
  • Collaborated research on seismic velocity model building
  • Monitoring and retrieving of low-frequency signals of geophone data


Since 1989, I have supervised 18 post-docs, 30+ Ph.D. students, and 30+ M.S. students. I have taught courses at University of Houston, Texas Tech University and other universities. Below is a summary of my course titles.

Undergraduate Courses

  • “Petroleum Geosciences” and “Geology of Hydrocarbons”
  • “Introduction to Earthquakes” and “Earthquakes”
  • “Geophysical Studies of the Earth” and “Seismology & Earth Structure”

Graduate Courses

  • “Geophysical Data Processing” and “Seismic Data Processing”
  • “Migration of Seismic Data” and “Seismic Migration”
  • “Velocity Model Building” and “Seismic Velocity Analysis”
  • “Exploration Geophysics” and “Petroleum Seismology”
  • “Seismic Imaging” and “Seismic Depth Imaging”
  • “Earthquake Seismology” and “Seismology Theory & Practice”
  • “Seismic Inversion: Current Concepts”
  • “Geophysics for Engineers and Scientists”
  • “Workstation Seismic Interpretation”

Professional Short Courses

  • “Seismic migration”
  • “Seismic data processing/analysis”
  • “Exploration geophysics”
  • “Regularization in seismic exploration”
  • “Seismic velocity model building and imaging”
  • “Seismic tomography”

In the past 30 years, I have published one textbook, over 140 referred papers and over 100 abstracts at national & international conferences. Below is a list of selected publications (* denotes my student or postdoc as the first author).

  • Ding*, Y., Y. Zheng, Zhou, M. Howell, H. Hu, and Y. Zhang, Propagation of Gaussian Wave Packets in complex media and the application to fracture characterization, Geophys. J. Int., 210, 1244-1251, 2017.
  • Krupnik, D., S. Khan, U. Okyay, P. Hartzell, and Zhou, Study of diagenetic features in Upper Albian rudist buildups of the Edwards Formation using ground-based hyperspectral imaging and terrestrial laser scanning, J. of Sedimentology, 345. 154-167, 2016.
  • Zou, Z., K. Liu, W. Zhao, H. Liu, Zhou, X. Meng, and Y. Li, Upper crustal structure beneath the northern South Yellow Sea revealed by wide-angle seismic tomography and joint interpretation of geophysical data, Geological Journal, 51(S1), 108-122, 2016.
  • Jing*, H., Zhou, and A. Li, Quantification of the impact of seismic anisotropy in microseismic location, International J. of Geosciences, 7, 884-890, 2016.
  • Deng*, P., Y. Chen, Y. Zhang, and Zhou, Weighted stacking of seismic AVO data using hybrid AB semblance and local similarity, J. Geophys. Eng., 13, 152-163, 2016.
  • Zhang, J., J. Shi, L. Song, Zhou, Linear traveltime perturbation interpolation: a novel method to compute 3-D traveltimes, Geophys. J. Int., 203, 548-552, 2015.
  • Zou*, Z., A. Bian, Zhou, J. Zhang, and L. Xing, An evaluation of reverse-time imaging of clustering earthquakes, J. of Earth Science, 26, 548-555, 2015.
  • Huang*, W., and Zhou, Least-Square seismic inversion with stochastic conjugate gradient method, J. of Earth Science, 26, 463-470, 2015.
  • Gantela*, C., A. Bian, Zhou, and T. Bjorklund, De-masking multiple artifact in crustal seismic images from marine reflection data in southern California borderland, J. of Earth Science, 26, 592-597, 2015.
  • Bian*, A., Z. Zou, Zhou, and J. Zhang, Evaluation of multi-scale full waveform inversion with marine vertical cable data, J. of Earth Science, 26, 481-486, 2015.
  • Zou*, H., Zhou, and J. Zhang, Imaging upper crustal structure of the Three Gorges region via teleseismic virtual reflection profiling, Chinese J. Geophys., 58, 411-423, 2015.
  • Zhang, J., T. Shi, Y. Zhao, and Zhou, Static corrections in mountainous areas using Fresnel-wavepath tomography, J. of Applied Geophysics, 111, 242-249, 2014.
  • Zou*, Z., Zhou, and H. Gurrola, Teleseismic virtual-source imaging of the basin structures in Three Gorges region, China, BSSA., 104, 2142-2147, 2014.
  • Zhou, H., Practical Seismic Data Processing, Cambridge University Press, ISBN-13: 9780521199100, 496 p., 2014.
  • Zou*, Z., Zhou, and H. Gurrola, Reverse-time imaging of a doublet of micro-earthquakes in the Three Gorges Reservoir region, Geophys. J. Int., 196, 1858-1868, 2014.
  • Zelt, C. A., S. Haines, M. H. Powers, J. Sheehan, S. Rohdewald, C. Link, K. Hayashi, D. Zhao, 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, J. Environmental & Engineering Geophysics, 18, 183-194, 2013.
  • Zhou, H., On the layering artifacts in seismic imageries, Journal of Earth Science, 22, 182-194, 2011.
  • Liu*, W., B. Zhao, Zhou, Z. He, H. Liu, and Z. Du, Wave-equation global datuming based on the double square root operator, Geophysics, 76, B1-B9, 2011.
  • Jiang*, F., and Zhou, Traveltime inversion and error analysis for layered anisotropy, J. of Applied Geophysics, 73, 101-110, 2011.
  • Zhou, H., L. Li, T. Bjorklund, and M.P. Thornton, A comparative analysis of deformable layer tomography and cell tomography along the LARSE lines in southern California, Geophys. J. Int, 180, 1200-1222, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04472.x, 2010.
  • Liu*, H., Zhou, W. Liu, P. Li, and Z. Zou, Tomographic velocity model building of near surface with reversed-velocity interfaces: A test using the Yilmaz model, Geophysics, 75, U39-U47, 2010.
  • Zhou, H., P. Li, Z. Yan, and H. Liu, Constrained deformable layer tomostatics, Geophysics, 74, WCB15-WCB26, 2009.
  • Thornton*, M.P., and Zhou, Crustal-scale prestack depth imaging for 1994 and 1999 LARSE surveys, Geophysical Prospecting, 56, 577-585, 2008.
  • Cao*, H., J. Xie, Y. Kim and Zhou, Multi-scale migration tomography for constraining the artifacts in depth imaging, Geophysics, 73, VE217-VE222, 2008.
  • Zhou, H., Multiscale deformable-layer tomography, Geophysics, 71, R11-R19, 2006.
  • Zhou, H., First-break vertical seismic profiling tomography for Vinton Dome, Geophysics, 71, U29-U36, 2006.
  • Zhou, H., and M. Murphy, Tomographic evidence for wholesale underthrusting of India beneath the entire Tibetan plateau, Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 25/3, 445-457, 2005.
  • Zhou, H., Multi-scale tomography for crustal P and S velocities in southern California, PAGEOPH, 161, 283-302, 2004.
  • Zhou, H., Direct inversion of velocity interfaces, Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, 447-450, L07612, 2004.
  • Zhou, H., Multi-scale traveltime tomography, Geophysics, 68, 1639-1649, 2003.
  • Zhou, H., M. Murphy, and Q. Lin, Tomographic imaging of the Tibet and surrounding region: Evidence for wholesale underthrusting of Indian slab beneath the Tibetan plateau, Earth Science Frontiers, 9(4), 285-292, 2002.
  • Bjorklund, T., K. Burke, Zhou, and R. S. Yeats, Miocene rifting in the Los Angeles basin: Evidence from the Puente Hills half-graben, volcanic rocks and P-wave tomography, Geology, 30, 447-450, 2002.
  • Youn*, O. K., and Zhou, Depth imaging with multiples, Geophysics, 66, 246-255, 2001.
  • Cadec, O., D. A. Yuen, H. Cizkova, M. Kido, Zhou, D. Runet, and P. Machetel, New perspectives on mantle dynamics from high-resolution seismic tomographic model P1200, PAGEOPH, 151, 503-525, 1998.
  • Magistrale, H., and Zhou, Lithological control of the depth of earthquakes in Southern California, Science, 273, 639-642, 1996.
  • Ha*, S. T. T., Zhou, R. E. Sheriff, and J. A. McDonald, Fourier transforms of approximation for sweeps and phase-encoded sweeps, Geophysics, 61, 1440-1452, 1996.
  • Zhou, H., A high-resolution P-wave model for top 1200 km of the mantle, J. Geophys. Res., 101, 27791-27810, 1996.
  • Zhou, H., and G. Chen, Waveform response to the morphology of 2D subducting slabs, Geophys. J. Int., 121, 511-522, 1995.
  • Ha*, S. T. T., Zhou, R. E. Sheriff, and J. A. McDonald, Artificial generation of a directional phase-encoded wavefield, IEEE Trans. Geosciences & Remote Sensing, 33, 262-267, 1995.
  • Zhou, H., Rapid 3-D hypocentral determination using a master station method, J. Geophys., Res., 99, 15439-15455, 1994.
  • Zhou, H., and H. Wang, A revisit to P-wave traveltime statics at teleseismic stations, J. Geophys. Res., 99, 17849-17861, 1994.
  • Zhou, H., Traveltime tomography with a spatial-coherency filter, Geophysics, 58, 720-726, 1993.
  • Zhou, H., J. A. McDonald, C. A. Link, and J. Jech, Constraining the magnitude of velocity perturbations in traveltime tomography, J. Seism. Exploration, 2, 365-380, 1993.
  • Allen, C. A., Z. Lou, H. Qian, X. Wen, Zhou, and W. Huang, Field study of a highly active fault zone: The Xianshuihe fault of southern China, Geol. Soc. Am. Bull., 103, 1178-1199, 1991.
  • Zhou, H., and R. W. Clayton, P and S wave travel-time inversions for subducting slab under the island arcs of the Northwest Pacific, J. Geophys. Res., 95, 6829-6851, doi: 10.1029/89JB03455, 1990.
  • Zhou, H., D. L. Anderson, and R. W. Clayton, Modeling of residual spheres for subduction zone earthquakes. I. Apparent slab penetration signatures in the NW Pacific caused by deep diffuse mantle anomalies, J. Geophys. Res., 95, 6799-6827, doi: 10.1029/89JB03215, 1990.
  • Zhou, H., Observations on earthquake stress axes and seismic morphology of deep slabs, Geophys. J. Int., 103, 377-401, 1990.
  • Zhou, H., Mapping of P wave slab anomalies beneath the Tonga, Kermadec and New Hebrides arcs, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 61, 199-229, 1990.
  • Allen, C. A., Z. Lou, H. Qian, X. Wen, Zhou, and W. Huang, Segmentation and recent rupture history of the Xianshuihe fault, southern China, in Fault Segmentation and Controls of Rupture Initiation and Termination, eds. D. P. Schwartz, and R. H. Sibson, U. S. Geol. Survey, Open-file Report, 89-315, 10-30, 1989.
  • Zhou, H., and D. L. Anderson, Search for deep slabs in the Northwest Pacific mantle, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 86, 8602-8606, 1989.
  • Zhou, H., How well can we resolve the deep seismic slab with seismic tomography? Geophys. Res. Lett., 15, 1425-1428, 1988.