Solid Earth Teaching and Research Environment

Partial support through NSF-CAREER.

SEATREE is a modular and user-friendly software to facilitate using solid Earth research tools in the classroom and for interdisciplinary, scientific collaboration. We use python wrappers and make use of modern software design concepts, while remaining compatible with traditional scientific coding. Our goals are to provide a fully contained, yet transparent package that lets users operate in an easy, graphically supported "black box" mode, while also allowing to look under the hood. In the long run, we envision SEATREE to contribute to new ways of sharing scientific research, and making (numerical) experiments truly reproducible again (Eos Article). For the current development status, see the main software download page.

SEATREE is module based, and the current Github version includes tools for computing 2-D mantle (thermal) convection, 3-D body wave mantle seismic tomography, 3-D spherical mantle flow, for inverting for Earth structure by means of surface wave, phase velocity tomography, and a two-dimensional synthetic tomography teaching module. A rudimentary module for earthquake location inversions is also available. The main software design consists of transparent python wrappers that drive the modules, including a GMT plotting tool, a VTK/Paraview 3-D visualization interface, and a graphical user interface.

SEATREE is freely available under the GNU license; a desktop installation is required to use SEATREE right now but we are planning on a web-based version as well. We encourage you to take the software for a test drive. If you want to use SEATREE in a classroom setting, we might be able to offer you some installation support and always welcome your feedback. Also, if you like to add your own module to SEATREE, please let us know; we might be able to provide some assistance.

Screenshots Illustrations of software capabilities and design concepts.

Bug reports, feedback, To-Do list, and version history.

User Documentation User-level documentation of SEATREE and the modules.

Developer Documentation Start here if you want to extend SEATREE and/or add modules.

Python Sandbox Programming tricks (for internal use)


Download and installation Instructions on how to obtain and install the whole package, including via a complete VirtualBox install. (Release: version 2.0.2, as of May, 2016).


The SEATREE graphical user interface and our python wrappers provide access to the following computational tools which are provided and shared by different groups of researchers.


A Hager & O'Connell (1981) mantle flow computation tool for spherical mantle circulation that allow computing flow velocities, tractions, and the geoid given different tomographic models.
2D thermal convection module based on ConMan


a toolkit for performing 3-D, global body wave tomography for the Earth's mantle
a toolkit for performing 2-D, global, surface wave phase velocity tomography
a synthetic 2-D seismic tomography tool
Modules under development


SEATREE provides access to different ways of visualization computational module output, some modules support more than one way of plotting results.

many modules use GMT for plotting geographic data (as for hc and larry), we wrote a simple python interface.
Matlab-like output, used for syn2d and ConMan
Interactive 3-D output via VTK, now available for latest version of the hc module, and in the works for larry3d


SEATREE has been developed since the Fall of 2007 thanks to NSF CAREER funding and the additional support of the Department of Earth Sciences at USC, Los Angeles, and now from UT Austin.

SEATREE design and coding

  • Kevin Milner (main Python code design and support)
  • Thorsten Becker (project lead, module and some python programming)
  • Francois Cadieux (larry3d python module and VTK interfacing)
  • John Yu: Distributed Linux cluster installation, UGESCE implementation, and additional coding
  • Hannah Waterhouse and Jared Sain (python code contributions)
  • Danijel Schorlemmer: design advice

Module contributors

The meat of SEATREE lies in the underlying research software. Please see the individual module documentation for full references and copyright notices. In particular,

Publications and presentations on SEATREE

Please cite

  • Milner, K., Becker, T. W., Boschi, L., Sain, J., Schorlemmer, D. and H. Waterhouse: The Solid Earth Research and Teaching Environment: a new software framework to share research tools in the classroom and across disciplines. Eos Trans. AGU, 90, 12, 2009. PDF

if you use SEATREE for your teaching or research efforts, and the appropriate module or data authors as listed on the module pages. Other publications and presentations on SEATREE include

  • Milner, K; T. W. Becker; L. Boschi; J. Sain; D. Schorlemmer; H. Waterhouse: The Solid Earth Research and Teaching Environment, a new software framework to share research tools inthe classroom and across disciplines. AGU Fall Meeting Abstract ED13D-0620, 2009.
  • Milner, K., Becker, T. W., Boschi, L., Sain, J., Schorlemmer, D. and H. Waterhouse: The Solid Earth Research and Teaching Environment: a new software framework to share research tools in the classroom and across disciplines. Eos Trans. AGU, 90, 12, 2009. PDF
  • Waterhouse, H. D., K. Milner, T. W. Becker, J. Sain, and D. Schorlemmer: A Solid Earth Research and Teaching Environment, Opportunities and Challenges in Computational Geophysics workshop, Caltech, 2009. PDF

  • Waterhouse, H. D. and K. Milner, and T.W. Becker: SEATREE: An Interactive Visual Environment for Earthquake Science, 2008 SCEC Annual Meeting, 1-007, 2008.
Last modified 7 months ago Last modified on 10/18/17 19:32:36