Teach the Earth > Structural Geology > Structure, Geophysics, and Tectonics 2012 > Teaching Activities > Magnetic Survey Lab

Magnetic Survey Lab

Rob Sternberg, Franklin & Marshall College

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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: Jun 1, 2012


To do a "magnetic survey" in the lab to understand the nature of magnetic anomalies, and to plot the data using profiles and contour maps.



Undergraduate course for geosciences and physics majors on geophysics.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

How the activity is situated in the course

Stand-alone exercise as part of the section of the course on geomagnetism.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Magnetic surveys
Magnetic anomalies
Contour maps

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Visualization of 3-dimensional anomalies
Subsurface imaging using surficial measurements

Other skills goals for this activity

operating analytical equipment
using the WWW
working in groups
using Surfer

Description and Teaching Materials

Student handout for magnet in a box exercise (Microsoft Word 28kB Apr30 12)

Needed - laboratory fluxgate magnetometer that can read in microteslas

Needed - Surfer or other contouring software, or contouring can be done by hand

Teaching Notes and Tips

Have a pre-collected data set ready in case needed.

Illustrate basic use of Surfer as a tutorial.

Suggest good graphical style.


Can the students apply and use Surfer for other data sets.

References and Resources

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