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Teaching Geophysics in the 21st Century
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Cutting Edge > Geophysics > Teaching Activities > Use of Seismic Refraction in the Characterization of Alluvial Aquifers

Use of Seismic Refraction in the Characterization of Alluvial Aquifers

Horacio Ferriz
,
California State University Stanislaus
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This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process.

This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.


This page first made public: Jul 5, 2007

Summary

1. Objectives
- Introduce the physical principles behind the method of seismic refraction
- Demonstrate basic field procedures followed in seismic refraction surveys
- Practice the techniques of seismic data interpretation with basic sample sets

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Context

Audience

I use this exercise in my courses:
1. Hydrogeology
2. Geophysical Exploration

Designed for a geophysics course
Integrates geophysics into a core course in geology

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

There is assigned reading on the seismic refraction method, and a couple of PowerPoint slides to explain the basics.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is a stand-alone exercise which comes late in the Hydrogeology class, and early in the Geophysical Exploration class.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

- Introduce the physical principles behind the method of seismic refraction

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

- Practice the techniques of seismic data interpretation with basic sample sets

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

The seismic refraction method allows us to calculate the propagation velocity of elastic waves through a stack of two or three geologic units (and from this we can make an educated guess as to the nature of each geologic unit), and to determine the depth to the interface between the units (for example, the depth to the interface between the unsaturated zone above and the saturated zone below, which is called . . . the water table!).
Addresses student fear of quantitative aspect and/or inadequate quantitative skills
Uses geophysics to solve problems in other fields

Determining whether students have met the goals

Lab report.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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