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Hiroo Kanamori (金森 博雄 Kanamori Hiroo; October 17, 1936—) is a Japanesemarker-born seismologist who has made fundamental contributions to understanding the physics of earthquakes and the tectonic processes that cause them.

He was born in Tokyo and attended the University of Tokyomarker where he earned his Ph.D. in 1964. He has been on the faculty at the California Institute of Technologymarker for the majority of his career, and was the Director of the Seismological Laboratory there at one time. He has worked with Dr. Charles Richter, the father of seismology, and Kanamori's tenure at Caltech has provided for many widely accepted theories in modern seismology. Kanamori is regarded as one of the scientists who has helped shape modern seismology. His work has influenced several other seismologists and geophysicists, and has provided the platform for most of the modern theories in seismology and geophysics today.

Kanamori and American seismologist Tom Hanks suggested the moment magnitude scale which replaced the Richter magnitude scale as a measurement of the relative strength of earthquakes.

Kanamori invented the method for calculating slip distribution on the fault plane by teleseismic waveform with Masayuki Kikuchi. In addition, they studied realtime seismology.

Dr. Kanamori has recently been working at Caltechmarker on an earthquake early-warning system for Southern California, and helped develop the algorithm used to determine the size of the earthquake at a distance before the strong shaking reaches Los Angeles. A system is currently being tested, and will likely be available in the coming years.


  1. Kanamori, H., 1977a, The energy release in great earthquakes: J. Geophys. Res., v. 82, p. 2981-2876
  2. Utsu, T., 2001, The Seismology 3rd edition: Kyoritsu, p.138
  3. Kikuchi, M., and Kanamori, H., 1982, Inversion of complex body waves: Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., v. 72, p. 491-506.
  4. The Potential for Earthquake Early Warning in Southern California *Richard M. Allen and *Hiroo Kanamori, Science 2 May 2003: Vol. 300. no. 5620, pp. 786 - 789 DOI: 10.1126/science.1080912
  5. *Kanamori and Richard Allen, Rapid magnitude determination for earthquake early warning. Allen, R.M. and H. Kanamori (2001) Rapid determination of event source parameters in southern California for earthquake early warning, AGU 2001 fall meeting. abstract

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