Gravity and Magnetic Consulting Project

Lawrence L. Malinconico
Lafayette College
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  1. 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

  2. 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

This page first made public: Jul 5, 2007


This project involves the design, implementation, data collection, analysis and report writing for gravity and magnetic survey conducted over a two month period during the course.

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Undergraduate course in applied geophysics
Designed for a geophysics course

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Understanding about the workings of spreadsheets
A basic understanding of structure and stratigraphy is extremely helpful for interpretation

How the activity is situated in the course

This is a stand-alone exercise which require the students to work in teams of 3 for a two month period beginning about 4 weeks into the semester. It requires a lot of out-of-class/lab time on their part.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Conducting a complete project from design through data collection/processing and interpretation to final report writing.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

The analysis and interpretation requires them to relate geophysical data to known geology and structure and to attempt to extend the geological/structural interpretation below the surface

Other skills goals for this activity

Working as a team
Meeting deadlines
Professional report writing
critical evaluation of data quality

Description of the activity/assignment

The purpose of this gravity/magnetic mapping project is to have the students conduct a research/consulting project from start to finish. They are expected to design the project (submit a proposal), implement (collect data) the proposal, process the data, analyze and interpret the results and report their findings. Working in teams, they have to budget their time, assign tasks and get the job done on time. The process is as important as the science, however they have make quality assessments of the data they have collected and justify their interpretation of the data using accepted scientific/geologic principles.
Uses geophysics to solve problems in other fields

Determining whether students have met the goals

I have included as the instructor's Notes an EXCEL check sheet that I use for evaluating each project. In addition, in some years it is necessary to have the students do a confidential contribution evaluation of each other.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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