The free surface motion of a layered medium of liquids in a gravitationally stable configuration, resting on top of a layer of mercury, driven by a torsionally oscillating, cylindrical outer wall is investigated. The non-linear problem in the unknown physical domain is expressed as a series of linear problems in the rest state by means of a domain perturbation method. The flow variables and the stress are expanded into series in terms of the amplitude of the oscillation of the cylinder. The shapes in the mean of the interfaces between layers and the flow field are determined up to second order in the perturbation parameter, the amplitude of the oscillation. © 1987 Springer-Verlag.