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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE2550 Applied Geophysics

30 creditsClass Size: 35

Module manager: Dr Jon Mound

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

Pre-requisite qualifications

Successful completion of year 1 of the relevant programmes or equivalent for exchange students

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module combines two field trips (normally undertaken during the preceding summer) with lectures and practical sessions to teach the fundamental skills of conducting and analysing geophysical surveys for a range of techniques. Practical sessions focus on the processing and interpretation of real data (where possible, that collected by the students in the field). You must pass this module to progress to year three of your geophysics programme.


To provide training in skills of geophysical and geological surveying including: survey design, field safety, field data recording, quality control, processing, interpretation, and the preparation and presentation of reports and maps.
To provide students with an understanding of the underlying physical principles of selected geophysical techniques (e.g. Refraction & reflection seismology, gravity, magnetics, electrical resistivity, GPR), particularly as applied to geophysical exploration for earth resources and near-surface structure.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- Carry out geophysical and geological data collection in the field
- Process seismic refraction, seismic reflection, electrical resistivity, gravity, and magnetics data to produce geophysical models
- Interpret geophysical models in terms of subsurface structures
- Define fundamental concepts and explain the physical principles underlying seismic, gravity, and magnetic methods
- Describe a variety of acquisition and data processing strategies and the impact they can have on geophysical data
- Solve quantitative problems to determine physical parameters associated with seismic, gravity, and magnetic exploration

Skills outcomes
Operation of modern field equipment for a variety of geophysical techniques. Use of specialist software for the processing and interpretation of geophysical data.

Use of specialist software for the processing and interpretation of resistivity, gravity, magnetic and seismic data.


Field trip: Malham Tarn, 4.5 days (data collection using various geophysical techniques, e.g. gravity, magnetics, resistivity, GPR, EM, refraction seismology).

Field trip: Lake District, 3 days (geological mapping).

Semester 1:
- Principles of geophysical modelling
- Ground Penetrating Radar.
- Resistivity measurement, processing and interpretation
- Gravity instrumentation and measurement
- Gravity corrections and processing
- Gravity interpretation and modelling
- Theory of potential fields
- Magnetic instrumentation and measurement
- Magnetic corrections and processing
- Magnetic interpretation and modelling

Semester 2:
- Principles of seismic refraction and reflection
- Time-Distance relations and the Time-Depth method
- Seismic acquisition
- Seismic reflection processing theory
- Seismic reflection interpretation
- Seismic processing of 2D marine data

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours162.00
Total Contact hours138.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Background reading (33), completion of data processing (32), literature review and report preparation (35), formative assignments (22), exam revision (40).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Continuous assessment during field and practical sessions. Practicals in semester 1 & 2 provide supervised sessions on data processing and interpretation in advance of the major reports. Example questions for lecture topics covered will be set to be completed on your own time, with model answers provided after approximately one week.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ProjectGPR & Resistivity group project - oral report15.00
ProjectGravity & Magnetics problems10.00
ProjectGravity & Magnetics project - written report25.00
ProjectSeismic processing & interpretation project and report50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The re-sit for this module will consist of a single exam covering the material taught in semesters 1 & 2.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/08/2020 08:46:33


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