GEOL40500 Applied Geophysics

Academic Year 2023/2024

This course will introduce students to geophysics as a discipline, placing it in the broader Earth science context. The physical principles underlying a variety of geophysical techniques (seismology, gravity, magnetic, electrical, electromagnetic) will be explored through practice based field experiments and workshop format lectures in a week long ‘field camp’ setting. Emphasis will be placed on team work in field data acquisition and in the processing, analysis and interpretation the student’s own data. The problem areas will be applied, with a focus on shallow geophysical applications.

Module Learning Aims:
To gain an appreciation of controls on geophysical images/models; to understand how to assess the information content and resolution of geophysical images/models; to gain an understanding of the importance of underlying physical principles in Earth model building.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
- assess a geophysical model/image in terms of its information content and resolution
- design and execute a small scale geophysical survey appropriate to the geological problem under investigation.
- understand the interrelationship between geology and geophysics in the wider Earth science context.

Indicative Module Content:

A number of geophysical techniques and their applications will be dealt with within the course: gravimetry, magnetometry, electrical methods, low-frequency electromagnetic methods, seismic methods and geo-penetrating radar (GPR). The course will comprise lectures, practical exercises, guest lectures given by industry partners. and field-measurements. The field measurements will be carried out in Phoenix Park. The collected data will be processed and interpreted.

A) Topics covered (lectures):

Introduction to Geophysics
Potential field techniques: gravity and magnetic surveys
Guest lecture: Monitoring volcanoes using geophysics
Guest lecture: Airborne geophysics (GSI/Tellus)
Electrical and electromagnetic methods
Seismic wave propagation
Seismic refraction methods
Seismic reflection methods
Borehole geophysics
Geopenetrating radar (GPR)
Integration of multiple geophysical datasets
Geophysics in hydrocarbon industry
Using Geophysics/Geology when building bridges

B) Practical work and field-measurements:

Exercises on Gravity and Magnetic data
Exercises on Electrical and Electromagnetic data
Exercises on Seismic methods
Gravity and magnetic data collection over geophysical anomaly
Electrical resistivity data collection over geophysical anomaly
Seismic refraction data collection over geophysical anomaly
Magnetotelluric and GPR data collection over geophysical anomaly
Collation and interpretation of the collected data

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Small Group




Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
- lectures
- practical problem-based exercises
- field work
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

Students must have a Stage 3 Geology GPA of at least 2.48 to enrol to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: Two assignments Unspecified n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Continuous Assessment: Continuous assessment (4 practical assignments) Unspecified n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Presentation: Video presentation Unspecified n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

1) M. Dentith and S.T. Mudge: Geophysics for the Mineral Exploration Geoscientist, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2014, pp. 438
2) H.R. Burger, A.F Sheehan and C.H. Jones: Introduction to Applied Geophysics, Exploring the Shallow Subsurface, Norton & Co., 2006, pp. 554
Name Role
Dr Aline Melo Lecturer / Co-Lecturer