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GE407 Applied Geophysics

Course description for academic year 2021/2022

Contents and structure

The course in «Applied geophysics» provides a basic introduction to the following geophysical methods:

  • Resistivity measurements (geoelectrical method, fieldwork)
  • Ground penetrating radar (GPR, high-frequency electromagnetic method, fieldwork)
  • The Transient Electromagnetic (TEM) method, (low-frequency electromagnetic method)
  • Refraction seismic (possible fieldwork)
  • Reflection seismic
  • Magnetics
  • Gravity

The course focuses on geophysical investigations at up to 100 meters depth and the examples and data used during the teaching reflects Norwegian conditions. During the course, the students will gain a good understanding of the application of the various geophysical methods used when determining:

  • Thickness, extent, and internal structures of sediments (for example quick clay and landslide deposits)
  • Depth and size of groundwater reservoirs and possible pollution of these
  • Zones of weathering and weakness in rocks
  • Thickness and volume of mires
  • Locations of buried landfill and unexploded ordnances (UXO)
  • Thickness of snow and glaciers
  • Locations of buried cultural heritage sites

During the course, special attention will be given to the practical aspects of geophysical investigations (fieldwork planning, data collection, processing, interpretation, and reporting). Students will collect their own geophysical data during the mandatory fieldwork and will work with data processing and geological interpretation during the course exercises. The results from the geophysical fieldwork is written up in a report and presented at a seminar (mandatory activity, group work).

Learning Outcome

The students will:

  • know of and have a basic understanding of the most commonly used geophysical methods applied in geological mapping to a depth of 100 meters.
  • have a more thorough theoretical and practical understanding of the geophysical methods used during the fieldwork.
  • be able to consider advantages and disadvantages of the most common geophysical methods when applied to various geological investigations.

During the course, students will learn to:

  • interpret geophysical data and have a good understanding of the limitations in these interpretations.
  • determine which geophysical methods are best suited for various geological conditions and investigations.
  • plan and carry out geophysical fieldwork using several geophysical methods.
  • process, interpret and present geophysical data using modern software.
  • prepare and give an oral presentation.

After the completed course, students

  • will obtain a theoretical and practical understanding of the most common geophysical methods applied in shallow geological investigations.
  • can understand, discuss, and convey central geophysical principles, and can use these qualifications to evaluate the settings in which the different geophysical methods may contribute to a better understanding of the geological conditions.
  • can design a geophysical investigation using several methods to suit a given challenge, and they will understand the limitations which exists for the various geophysical methods. 
  • will know how to write a geological report and present the most important elements from this report orally.

Entry requirements


Recommended previous knowledge

GE406:          Introduction to Geology

MA414:          Mathematics for Science Studies

FY400:           Introduction to Physics

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Practical exercises (theoretical assignments, data processing, geological interpretation)
  • Group supervision
  • Written assignments
  • Fieldwork
  • Report writing
  • Seminar

Compulsory learning activities

  • 7 written assignments (group work)
  • Fieldwork (group work, up to four days at a location near Sogndal, no overnight trip)
  • Report (group work)
  • Presentation on class seminar (group work)


Written examination under supervision (digital), 4 hours.

Grading: A - F.

Examination support material

Calculator and ruler.

More about examination support material

Course reductions

  • GE407 - Innføring i anvendt geofysikk - Reduction: 10 studypoints