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Unit information: Applied Geophysics in 2021/22

Unit name Applied Geophysics
Unit code EASC20042
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1B (weeks 7 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Wookey
Open unit status Not open

Mandatory year 1 units of an Environmental Geoscience or Geophysics programme at Bristol. Geology students taking this unit in Year 3 must have completed mandatory units in both Year 1 and Year 2.



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

Applied Geophysics aims to provide students with an overview of the geophysical techniques commonly used to solve applied problems in the shallow subsurface. The unit will cover gravity, magnetic, seismic, electrical and electromagnetic techniques. For each technique the basic underlying theory, relevant subsurface properties, targets, instrumentation, acquisition, data processing and interpretation will be covered. Several case studies for each demonstrating the technique’s utility will be provided, spanning application areas including natural hazards, natural resources, and engineering and archaeological site investigations.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the students will:

  • Understand the physics and mathematics underpinning a range of geophysical techniques and data types.
  • Understand which geophysical techniques (and combinations of techniques) are appropriate to a range of applied problems.
  • Be familiar with the common applications of geophysical surveying.
  • Be able to apply basic processing to geophysical data in MATLAB/Excel and understand the purpose of more advanced processing.
  • Provide preliminary interpretations on a range of geophysical data type and evaluate other people’s interpretations.

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through a combination of

  • asynchronous online materials and, if subsequently possible, synchronous face-to-face lectures
  • synchronous office hours
  • asynchronous directed individual formative activities and exercises
  • guided, structured reading
  • practical work in the laboratory

Students who either begin or continue their studies in an online mode may be required to complete practical work, or alternative activities in person, either during the academic year 2020/21 or subsequently, in order to meet the intended learning outcomes for the unit, prepare them for subsequent units or to satisfy accreditation requirements.

Assessment Information

100% coursework comprising a geophysical survey report (~10 pages, plus 10-15 figures) which will contain both group-based and individual elements.

For example, each student in a group (of 4-6 students) might process and document a different geophysical datatype, and contribute a section including figure to the methods and results sections. The whole group will then contribute to an holistic interpretation section bringing together all of the data to answer the survey objectives. Each student's final mark will be based on the quality of the overall report (70%), and the individual data section they wrote (30%).

Completing practicals is mandatory in order to gain credit points for the unit as these will feed directly into the coursework. Formative feedback will be given in practical classes.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EASC20042).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.