Department of
Earth and Climate Science

Photo of Shyam S. Rai

Shyam S. Rai

Honorary Professor Emeritus and Raja Ramanna Fellow

Earth and Climate Science

Geophysical data modelling, Inverse theory & its application, Deep earth exploration & understanding the earth process

Prof. Shyam Rai earned his Ph.D. (1988) from the Indian School of Mines and M. Tech (1977) from the University of Roorkee in Applied Geophysics. He earned B.Sc. (Hons.) in Physics from Banaras Hindu University in 1973. Prior to IISER Pune, he was affiliated with IISER Kolkata (Professor of Earth Science, 2009-10) and the National Geophysical Research Institute in Hyderabad (1978-2014, retired as Chief Scientist.)


Seismic Imaging, Geodynamics and Evolution of India, Himalayas and Tibet

Prof. Shyam Rai's research is primarily directed to understand the Earth structure, earthquake dynamics, and evolution of the India- Himalayan-Tibet region. To achieve this, he designed high-resolution seismological experiments to create 3-D elastic wave velocity images of the deep Earth of the region at various scales.  The velocity images from near surface to over 800 km depth are created through the modelling of waveforms (widely referred as seismic imaging) generated using earth ambient noise and earthquake sources. These images have been used to model the physical, chemical and thermal state of the earth that allows one to infer the state of stress and the geological evolution of the region. The research objectives have been accomplished by working cooperatively with a large number of students and researchers in India and across the globe.  

The research has been disseminated through over 100 research papers published in international peer-reviewed journals and has resulted in 14 students earning their PhDs. His other domain of research interest is application of improved methodology for near surface exploration of natural resources and environmental geophysics- an area where he initiated my research career earning PhD.

Selected Publications

Saha, Gokul, Surya Prakasam, K. and Rai, S. S. (2020) Diversity in the Indianlithosphere revealed from ambient noise and earthquake tomography, Phys. Earth and Planet. Int.,

Caldwell W. B., Klemperer S. L., Lawrence J. F, Rai, S. S., and Ashish (2013): Characterizing the Main Himalayan Thrust in the Garhwal Himalaya, India with receiver function CCP stacking, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 67. 15-27

Julia, J., Jagadeesh, S., Rai, S. S., and Owens, T.J. (2009) Deep crustal structure of the Indian Shield from joint inversion of P- wave receiver functions and Rayleigh wave group velocities: Implications for Precambrian evolution. J. Geophys. Res. 114. B10313 doi:10.1029/2008JB006261

Rai, S.S., Priestley, K., Gaur, V.K., Mitra, S., Singh, M.P., and Searle, M.P. ( 2006). The configuration of the Indian Moho beneath the NW Himalaya and Ladakh. Geophys. Res. Lett. 33. doi:10.1029/GL 026076.

Rai, S.S., Priestley, K., Prakasam, K. S., Srinagesh, D., Gaur, V.K., and Du, Z. (2003). Crustal Shear velocity structure of the south Indian shield. J. Geophys. Res. 108(B2). doi: 1029/2002JB001776