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Geology 406 / Physics 406

GEOL (PHYS) 406
GEOPHYSICS

Catalog Entry

GEOL (PHYS) 406. Geophysics
Three hours lecture; two hours laboratory (4).

Prerequisites: GEOL 105 or ASTR 111 and PHYS 221:222 or PHYS 111:112 and MATH 152, or permission of instructor.

Examination of the basic principles and techniques of modern geophysical methods, and the applications of these methods to site investigations for environmental and engineering geologic projects. Some Saturday labs may be required.

 

Detailed Description of Content of Course

This course is designed as an undergraduate-level introduction to the principles and techniques of geophysical exploration and site mapping for environmental and engineering geologic projects. The theory behind geophysical instruments will be an integral part of the course, while the instruments themselves will be used to illustrate the theoretical background. The topics and concepts covered in this course include:

1. Introduction to the role of geophysical methods in environmental and engineering geologic projects.
2. Principles and applications of gravimetry, including the physical principles of the gravitational potentials studied in the field, the basics of the instrumentation, the applications of the instruments to background and anomaly measurements, and the interpretation of the data.
3. Principles and applications of magnetometry, including the physical principles of the magnetic potentials studied in the field, the basics of the instrumentation, the applications of the instruments to background and anomaly measurements, and the interpretation of the data.
4. Principles and applications of applied seismology, including the physical principles of refraction, reflection, and diffraction. Applications of these methods to single-, multiple-, and nonhorizontal-layer cases will be discussed, along with the interpretation of field data. The basics of seismic instrumentation will be discussed.
5. Principles and applications of electrical resistivity methods, including the physical principles of the electric fields used in this method, the basics of the low-frequency electrical instrumentation, the applications of the instruments to field measurements including the various electrode configurations, and the interpretation of the data.
6. Principles and applications of electromagnetic methods, including the physical principles of electromagnetic induction, the basics of variable-frequency electromagnetic transmitters and receivers, the applications of the instruments to field measurements including the various emitter and receiver configurations, and the interpretation of the data.
7. Principles and applications of newer methods such as ground-penetrating radar, including the physical principles of these methods.

 

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course will consist of lecture presentations and homework exercises designed to illustrate both the physics basis of geophysical methods and the instruments used in these methods. In addition, both field and Internet exercises will be incorporated into the assignments, with the purpose of emphasizing the applications of these methods to field studies. The internet exercises will emphasize the use of the World Wide Web as a resource for the field of geophysics.

 

Goals and Objectives of the Course

The general goals and objectives of this course are to provide an understanding of the physical basis of modern geophysical methods, and their applications to field geophysics. With this course being an overview of several methods, emphasis will be placed on the students understanding which of these geophysical methods are appropriate for a given field project. In addition, since field work often involves more than one of these methods, the course will stress how the various methods compliment each other in the knowledge yielded about subsurface structures and materials.

 

Assessment Measures

Course grades will be based on exams and field and homework exercises. These exercises will include the use of the Internet in obtaining data sets from sources such as the National Geophysical Data Center (http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/seg/wdca/) and using that data in various applications.

 

Other Course Information

GEOL 406 is a required course for the Environmental and Engineering Geoscience Concentration for a B.S. degree in Geology.

 

Approval and Subsequent Reviews

Date Action Reviewed by
September 2005 Reviewed and Updated Stephen W. Lenhart, Chair