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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE2631 Introduction to Geophysics

10 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Dr Jon Mound

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

AS Grade C Maths or an equivalent Level 1 Maths module (eg SOEE1480)

This module is mutually exclusive with

SOEE1150Fundamentals of Geophysics
SOEE2630Fundamentals of Geophysics

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Learn how physics is used to study Earth structure and Earth processes. Techniques of seismology, gravity, geodesy, magnetics, and electromagnetism are used to understand and assess geological hazards, locate natural resources, and understand the structure and dynamics of the planet from an atomic to a global scale. This module is taught through lectures and tutorials and is assessed by a final examination (100%).


To learn about geophysical analysis and develop problem-solving skills. To understand how the principles of physics are used to study physical properties and processes of the Earth. The goal is to have a basic overview of geophysics for interest and as the basis for further work, to be accustomed to approaching and solving problems, and to be able to make basic analyses of data from commonly used geophysical surveys.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. Recall the definition of terms associated with geophysical theory and observations;
2. Use fundamental geophysical principles to perform simple analysis and interpretation of illustrative data;
3. Describe the physical principles underlying a range of geophysical techniques;
4. Solve problems relating to geophysical investigation of the Earth;
5. Explain how geophysical methods can be used to investigate geological properties and processes;


- Introduction to geophysics
- Seismology: origin and form of seismic waves, locating earthquakes, earth structure, seismic refraction/reflection; surveys for resources; data acquisition and processing
- Gravity and Geodesy: principles, practice and interpretation, satellites, isostasy, stress and strain
- Magnetics: magnetisation, principles and practice, measurement and processing of geomagnetism and palaeomagnetism
- Geoelectric, electromagnetic, and GPR methods: principles of electrical and electromagnetic theory, electrical properties of Earth materials, survey techniques
- Volcano geophysics: hazard, monitoring, forecasting

This module follows the same syllabus as for SOEE2630 Fundamentals of Geophysics but with a different problem set with less emphasis on quantitative modelling of geophysical processes. The module is more suited to students without A Level Maths or SOEE1301 or equivalent, and to those who prefer to focus on a conceptual understanding.

SOEE2630 is recommended for students who are intending to take SOEE3740 Seismic Interpretation in Level 3.

Students are encouraged to speak with the Module Leader or to a member of the module teaching team if they wish to enrol for SOEE2630.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours70.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

- 3 hours per week follow-up and completion of problem sets: 30 hours
- 2 hours per week follow-up reading: 20 hours
- Revision: 20 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Feedback on coursework will be given throughout the semester through the VLE/Blackboard system and in discussion with teaching team during Surgery/Q&A sessions. Students will have help in starting problems in the tutorial sessions and then get feedback on their work. There will be a formative problem set assigned weekly with feedback from demonstrators on at least one problem.

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Unseen exam 2 hr 00 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

The re-sit for this module will consist of a single 2-hour exam.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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