Personal page of Ivan Koulakov


General information:

  • Name: Ivan KULAKOV (as in passport)
  • Present status: Ph.D., Habil., head of laboratory for Seismic Forward and Inverse Problems
  • Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics, SB RAS
  • Born: in Novosibirsk, Russia, July, 15, 1967
  • Marital Status:married, have three sons
  • Wife: Malikova Olga (teacher at a school and the University)
  • Nationality: Russian
  • Professional address: IPGG, SB RAS, 3, Prospekt Akademika Koptyuga, 630090, Novosibirsk, Russia
  • Phone: (+7) 383 330 92 01 (office)
  • Mobil phone: (+7) 913 453 8987
  • e-mail:
  • Art:


    Main steps of the scientific career:
    June, 1991: Master degree at the Novosibirsk State University, Speciality Geophysics.
    1991 - today: Permanent resesarch positions at the Institute of Geology, Institute of Geophysics (many different names of the same institution)
    June, 1995: PhD THESIS at the United Institute of Geology, Geophysics and Mineralogy, SB RAS, Novosibirsk, Speciality Geophysics.
    1996-1997: Postdoc at the Geosciences Azur, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France.
    2002-2004: Three years of postdoc position at GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (SFB 267), Germany.
    2006: One year of postdoc position at GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (MERAMEX Project), Germany.
    May, 2007: Habilitation (Doktor Nauk) at Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, SB RAS, Novosibirsk.
    Since 2008: Head of Laboratory for Seismic Forward and Inverse Problems in IPGG SB RAS

    The main scientific achievements:

    Together with a team of young researchers and students we develop practical algorithms for working with different observation schemes, mostly based on travel times of body seismic waves. These algorithms are used for various fundamental and applied problems on scales from first meters to thousands kilometers. The main common features of the tomographic algorithms are following:

    1. Quasi-continuous parameterization. The velocity field is computed in nodes distributed within the study area according to the ray density. We always use node spacing which is significantly smaller than sizes of the expected anomalies. To reduce any effect of the grid to the result, we perform the inversions for several rotated grids and then stack the results.

    2. Ray tracing. We have created our own code for ray tracing which is based on bending method. We have produced several modifications of the ray tracer algorithms, including 2D and 3D isotropic and anisotropic versions, tracers for reflected and head waves in a multilayered model etc.

    3. Source location. In case of passive source schemes, we perform source location which is based on the algorithm of a goal function searching. The version we use is rather robust (does not depend on starting point for searching) and is relatively fast.

    4. Synthetic testing. We have produced an efficient tool for generating 3D synthetic models of complex shape. In contrast to most of other codes, we model the full inversion procedure which includes initial locations of sources in a 1D model and optimization of the reference model.

    These algorithms have been implemented in different passive and active seismic tomography codes:

    P-velocity anomalies at 50 km depth beneath Europe from Koulakov et al., (2009)

  • Regional tomography based on worldwide catalogues (e.g., ISC). This algorithm was used to investigate the mantle structure in the most interesting areas of the Earth: the Pamir-Hindukush area (Koulakov, Sobolev, 2006), Iran (Alinaghi et al., 2007), Southern Siberia and Mongolia (Koulakov, 2008, Koulakov & Bushenkova, 2010), Europe (Koulakov et al., 2009, GJI), Kurile-Kamchatka arc (Koulakov et al., 2011), Caucasus (Koulakov et al., 2012) and other.

    The P and S velocity anomalies in the upper mantle beneath Europe and Asia together with program for visualization can be found here: (93 035 Kb). Detailed instruction for the visualization program (readme.pdf), examples of PNG pictures with vertical and horizontal sections for Europe ( and for Asia (, as well as template for visualizing using Surfer-9 ( can be downloaded using the corresponding links.

  • Local earthquake tomography (LET). We have developed a user friendly code LOTOS which is described in Koulakov (BSSA, 2009) and is available in free access on the web site This code is used by several persons worldwide for investigating different regions. Using this code, we have processed dozens datasets in different areas, such as Central Andes (Koulakov et al., 2006, GJI), Central Java (Koulakov et al., 2007, JGR), Toba, N.Sumatra (Koulakov et al., 2009, GJI), Anatolian fault (Koulakov et al., 2010, BSSA), Krakatau (Jaxybulatov et al., 2011), Kluchevskoy volcano (Koulakov et al., 2011, 2012), and many other. We have also produced a series of testing datasets which can be used as a benchmark for testing different LET algorithms (these tests can be found here).

  • 3D active source tomography (ATOM-3D). We have developed a code, ATOM-3D for performing 3D active source tomographic inversion. Description of the code and manual are contained in file "atom_3d_description.pdf" (572 Kb). Steps which help to learn using the code can be found in file "to_get_started.pdf" (94 Kb). A compressed file with all program codes and data examples can be downloaded as file: "" (5072 Kb). An example of implementation of this code for studying the seismic structure beneath Tenerife Island (Canaries) is described in (García-Yeguas et al., 2012, JGR)

  • Teleseismic tomography scheme. We have developed our own code which was successfully applied to different datasets: in Central Andes (Heit et al., 2007), Dead Sea area (Koulakov et al., 2006) and other.

  • 2D active source tomography code, PROFIT. Description of the code is presented in (Koulakov, Kopp, Stupina, Geophysics, 2010) and online. The code is in free access. This code has been implemented for processing the data on several marine (Musician range seamounts, Central Java subduction area) and land profiles (for example, exploration profile in Kazakhstan). The same code can be used for cross well tomography and other small scale schemes which can be used in different exploration and engineering tasks

    Full list of publications

    Selected publications:

  • Koulakov, I., Gordeev, E. I., Dobretsov, N. L., Vernikovsky, V. A., Senyukov, S, Jakovlev, A., Jaxybulatov, K., (2012). Rapid changes in magma storage beneath the Klyuchevskoy group of volcanoes inferred from time-dependent seismic tomography, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, doi: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2012.10.014, (pdf-file)

  • Koulakov, I., Zabelina, I., Amanatashvili, I., and Meskhia, V., (2012): Nature of orogenesis and volcanism in the Caucasus region based on results of regional tomography, Solid Earth, 3, 327-337, doi:10.5194/se-3-327-2012, (pdf-file)

  • Koulakov I., E.I.Gordeev, N.L.Dobretsov, V.A.Vernikovsky, S.Senyukov and A.Jakovlev (2011). Feeding paths of the Kluchevskoy volcano group (Kamchatka) from the results of local earthquake tomography, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L09305, doi:10.1029/2011GL046957, (pdf-file).

  • Koulakov I. (2011), High-frequency P and S velocity anomalies in the upper mantle beneath Asia from inversion of worldwide traveltime data, J. Geophys. Res., 116, B04301, doi:10.1029/2010JB007938. (pdf-file)

  • Koulakov, I.Yu., N.L. Dobretsov, N.A. Bushenkova , A.V. Yakovlev, (2011). Slab shape in subduction zones beneath the Kurile–Kamchatka and Aleutian arcs based on regional tomography results, Russian Geology and Geophysics 52, 650–667 (pdf-file)

  • Koulakov I., T. Stupina, H. Kopp, 2010, Creating realistic models based on combined forward modeling and tomographic inversion of seismic profiling data, Geophysics, 75, n.3, B115, 10.1190/1.3427637

  • Koulakov I., M.K. Kaban, M. Tesauro, and S. Cloetingh, 2009, P and S velocity anomalies in the upper mantle beneath Europe from tomographic inversion of ISC data, Geophys. J. Int. 179, 1, p. 345-366. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04279.x, (pdf-file)

  • Koulakov I., 2009, LOTOS code for local earthquake tomographic inversion. Benchmarks for testing tomographic algorithms, BSSA, Vol. 99, No. 1, pp. 194-214, doi: 10.1785/0120080013, (pdf-file)

  • Koulakov, I., A. Jakovlev, and B. G. Luehr, 2009, Anisotropic structure beneath Central Java from local earthquake tomography, G-cubed., 10, Q02011, doi:10.1029/2008GC002109. (pdf-file)

  • Koulakov I. and S.V. Sobolev, (2006) A Tomographic Image of Indian Lithosphere Break-off beneath the Pamir Hindukush Region, Geophys. Journ. Int., 164, p. 425-440. (pdf-file)