Environmental Geophysics

Gregory S. Baker

University of Tennessee
University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs


This course examines surface and borehole geophysical methods that are currently being developed in industry, government labs and academia for examining the upper 200 m of the Earth's surface.

Course URL:
Course Size:

less than 15

Course Context:

This is a upper-division course requiring at least two semesters of calculus and two semesters of calculus-based physics. The course meets once per week for up to 4 1/4 hours (when in the field) and is an elective for majors.

Course Goals:

  • Students should be able to determine appropriate survey design/acquisition parameters to avoid aliasing (spatial and temporal) of near-surface geophysical data
  • Students should be able to understand hypothesis development and the relationship between hypothesis testing and objectives
  • Students should be able to determine pros and cons of different near-surface geophysical techniques when applied to specific problems
  • Students should be knowledgeable with respect to typical "pitfalls" in data acquisition, processing, and interpretation of near-surface geophysics data
  • Student should be able to recognize the result of the misapplication of near-surface geophysical techniques in the literature, reports, and presentations

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

Exercises to link theoretical discussions in the classroom with application in the field are many and varied. Trial and error (i.e., learning through mistakes) is critical. Examination of data collected by others (e.g., literature) to assess methodologies.

Skills Goals

  • Write a report
  • Present (orally) the results of a project
  • Work collaboratively
  • Assess peer-reviewed literature

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

Repetition of the tasks including both peer and instructor feedback.

Attitudinal Goals

Many, but a specific goal is to impress upon students the need to maintain a high level of rigor in environmental geophysics in light of the institutional drive in the other direction (related to cost minimization, rather than the profit maximization in hydrocarbon/mineral exploration).

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

Examples of significant effort and tax dollars wasted because of a insufficient technique knowledge are presented.


Problem Sets 15%
Lab Exercises/Projects 35%
Take-Home Exams (2) 34%
Presentations/ Participation 16%


Syllabus (PowerPoint PRIVATE FILE 124kB Aug1 07)

New TTE Logo Small

Geophysics resources from across Teach the Earth »

Geophysics resources from Teach the Earth include:

Specialized collections including

or search

Environmental Geology resources from across Teach the Earth »

Key Resources:

Join the Discussion:

or search