Teach the Earth > Course Design > Course Goals/Syllabus Database > Exploration Geophysics

Exploration Geophysics

Magali Billen

University of California-Davis
University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs


Introduction to theory and data processing associated with geophysical field methods including seismic reflection, refraction, gravity, resistivity, and electrical methods.

Course URL:

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Exploration Methods
Resource Type: Course Information:Goals/Syllabi
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Course Type: Upper Level:Geophysics
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Geophysics
Course Size:


Course Context:

This is an elective upper division course typically taken by juniors or seniors. The only pre-requisites are calculus and physics. Typically, 50% of the students are geology majors, while the other 50% come from engineering, physics, hydrology and environmental science. The course assignments encourage the use of MATLAB, but it is not required. Special training sessions in MATLAB are given to interested students.

Course Goals:

The goals of this course are to apply geophysical methods to determine shallow crustal structure. Exploration geophysics includes two main components: 1) Acquiring and processing data (lots of it) and 2) using models to interpret the data and determine crustal structure.
The general approach will be to:
  1. introduce a geophysical problem to be solved.
  2. cover the theoretical background and methods used to acquire/process relevant data.
  3. use models (based on theory) to interpret data.
  4. combine data to get a more comprehensive picture of the subsurface.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

To do this, we need to understand what the methods are capable of doing (do they measure
density, constrast in seismic speed, metallic content,...?) and how best to use a method
to achieve a specific goal. I will try to use real data in examples and homework whenever
Because data processing is such a big part of real exploration geophysics analysis, I
recommend that you know or are willing to learn MATLAB. I will be giving a special
introduction to MATLAB the second week of class (time/date to be determined in class).
However, all the homework can be done using Excel.



Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 46kB Jun20 07)

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