GEOL40720 Geophysical Methods 2

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module will introduce students to the physical principles and the practical application of the geophysical techniques commonly used to image the subsurface (gravity, magnetic, electrical, electromagnetic methods). Emphasis will be placed on the processing, analysis and interpretation of geophysical data with a focus on shallow geophysical applications. Students will gain an understanding of how to assess the information content and resolution of geophysical images/models as well as of the importance of underlying physical principles in Earth model building.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Understand the link between measured geophysical fields and geological units
2. Describe the variations of the geophysical response of geological units under different primary fields
3. Understand the concept of non-invasive subsurface visualization (3D) over time (4D)
4. Characterize the relation between data resolution, survey design, and signal to noise ratio
5. Reflect, describe, and apply geophysics to solve geological, environmental, and societal problems
6. Analyze ambiguity in data interpretation (the interplay between frequency content, depth of signal, size of the body, and intensity of physical properties)

Indicative Module Content:

Lecture 1: Exploring patterns in geophysical data
Main applications of geophysical methods. Forward and inverse modeling and the connection between geology and geophysical anomalies. Basic elements of a geophysical experiment. Qualitative and quantitative interpretation.

Lecture 2: Physical properties of rocks
Elements that influence physical properties (composition, geometry, interfaces, thermodynamic condition). Variations of electrical conductivity, electrical polarization, magnetism, velocity and density with variations in texture, grain size and composition. Bowen's series and physical properties. Properties of different rock types.

Lecture 3: Magnetic and gravity methods
Active and passive geophysical methods. Gravitational force and magnetism and the connection with density and magnetic susceptibility of rocks, respectively. From point mass and single loop theory to 3D practical applications. Equipment and data acquisition. Data reduction and processing. Line spacing and anomaly detection. Main principles of data interpretation.

Lecture 4: Electrical, electromagnetic, and radiometric methods
Meaning of Maxwell equations and connection with the electrical conductivity of rocks. Equipment and data acquisition. Data reduction and processing. Line spacing and anomaly detection. Main principles of data interpretation.

Lecture 5: Data interpretation and integration
Meaning and methods of data integration. Knowledge and data driven methods. Case studies. The UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world and how geosciences can help. Case study on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in geosciences.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning








Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module combines lectures and 3-hour practical classes over the five topics outlined above.
In the practical classes students will works on interpretation of geophysical data and on Jupyter notebooks with the aim of reinforcing important principles. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable 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
Multiple Choice Questionnaire (Short): Short quizzes Throughout the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Continuous Assessment: Assessment of practical coursework throughout the trimester Throughout the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Examination: A written examination Unspecified No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer Yes - 1 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.

There are no rows to display