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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE5141M Near-Surface Geophysics

15 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Dr Roger Clark

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

Year running 2023/24

This module is mutually exclusive with

SOEE5142MGeophysical and Geological Field Methods and Geological Inte

Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module provides a training in the geophysical approaches commonly used in near-surface exploration - typically for hydrological, environmental, engineering and archaeological applications - and for characterising the weathered zone for larger scale exploration. Students will become familiar with electrical and electromagnetic approaches, near-surface seismic methods, and the typical considerations that must be made in near-surface site investigations. This is undertaken through lectures, data processing practicals and a field deployment.


To appreciate the principles of geophysical methods commonly applied in near-surface exploration. To become familiar with handling and integrating different types of geophysical data. To learn how to design and implement geophysical field surveys.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- Understand the principles of electrical, electromagnetic, seismic refraction and surface wave methodologies, as applied to near-surface targets.
- Interpret data from these geophysical methods and critically review data quality.


- Electrical survey methods in near-surface geophysics; factors affecting current flow; resistivity, permittivity, permeability, anisotropy; quantitative solutions for layered media.
- Self potential, fixed and moving source resistivity methods.
- Induced Polarisation.
- Physical basis of electromagnetic (EM) techniques, including EM, magnetotelluric surveying and ground penetrating radar.
- Seismic refraction travel-time distance relationships; interpretation algorithms such as planar- and undulating-boundary cases; hidden layers, and velocity gradients); refraction tomography
- Multichannel Analysis of Surface Waves and related methods.
- Survey design strategies: principles and examples.
- Field application of near-surface geophysical methods

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours80.00
Total Contact hours70.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

- Practical follow up: 30 hours
- Revision: 86 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative workshop exercises throughout. Formative feedback on abstract submission.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentField Report33.30
AssignmentSeismic coursework33.30
AssignmentGeoelectrics/Electromagnetic coursework33.30
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)99.90

The re-sit for the module will consist of a single unseen examination, covering all aspects of the module including practical calculations and/or real data examples as well as simple written answers, and in the same format. Note that, because it must cover ALL aspects of the module (including field campaign analysis and reporting), it is emphasised again that some or all questions may include real data examples and calculations.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/05/2023 16:29:08


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