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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE5158M Applied Geophysical Methods

20 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Dr Emma Bramham

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

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Normal entry for the MSc

Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

In this module students will learn about the various geophysical survey techniques used for examining the sub-surface, developing an understanding of both how these techniques can be used across a range of environments and their potential limitations. The module will comprise 3 parts: A) seismic reflection and refraction survey methods with an introduction to other key geophysical methods used across a range of sub-surface environments, B) gravity and magnetic survey methods, and C) petrophysics and borehole analysis.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
Part A:
- understand the general concepts of seismic wave propagation in the Earth; its theoretical description;
- understand the physical properties of rocks that control wave propagation, and its expression as travel-time formulae of reflected waves;
- understand the underlying physical principles that control the choice of acquisition parameters;
- review the methods used to process seismic reflection data from raw data through to final seismic sections;
- understand the physical principles that underlie these methods, how they are applied and how they are relevant across a range of sub-surface environment.
- have a basic understanding of the function and use of a range of other geophysical methods used for examining the sub-surface
Part B:
- understand the application of gravity and magnetics to sub-surface exploration and have a basic understanding of the physical principles that underlie these methods
Part C:
- understand the fundamentals of petrophysics and its use in the analysis of cores and geophysical well logs for reservoir characterisation and hydrocarbon assessment
- have acquired skills in the analysis of geophysical well logs for determining lithology, porosity and hydrocarbon saturation.


Part A: Seismic reflection, refraction and other geophysical methods
- Properties of waves
- Seismic events
- Travel-times and travel-time equations
- Amplitude and resolution of seismic data
- Seismic reflection surveying in land and marine environments: survey design, acquisition methods and limitations
- Pre-processing: cleaning and filtering of data
- Processing: NMO, velocity analysis and velocity models, stacking, static corrections
- Post-processing: migration, depth conversion
- Refraction surveying and other geophysical methods

Part B: Gravity and Magnetics

- Introduction to gravity and magnetics methods
- Application of gravity and magnetics in sub-surface interpretation
Part C: Petrophysics - Formation Evaluation: geo-electrical properties
- Resistivity borehole logging
- Induction and SP logs
- Porosity Logs: sonic and density
- Porosity Logs: neutron and natural gamma ray
- Magnetic Nuclear Resonance Logs
- Image Logs and determination of lithology and porosity
- Fracture Analysis and seismic anisotropy
- Vertical Seismic Profiles (VSP): field procedures, travel-time relationships

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours140.00
Total Contact hours60.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Working on set problems, working up notes, directed reading, revision.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Feedback on coursework.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentPart 1 – 1 x Assignments15.00
In-course AssessmentPart 2 - Report15.00
In-course AssessmentPart 3 – 1 x Assessed Practical30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)60.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)40.00

Exam will cover Part A of the module only and will take place at the end of semester 1.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 19/08/2022


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