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GE407 Applied Geophysics

Course description for academic year 2022/2023

Contents and structure

The course in «Applied geophysics» provides a basic introduction to the most common geophysical methods, such as the electrical resistivity method, ground-penetrating radar, electromagnetic induction, magnetics, and seismic reflection and refraction.

The course focuses on geophysical investigations at up to 100 meters depth and many of 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). We have available modern geophysical equipment and processing software for georadar, 2D resistivity surveys and refraction seismics. 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 must be summarized 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.
  • Structure and write a geophysical report.
  • Prepare and give a short oral presentation.

General competence

After the completed course, students will have obtained a theoretical and practical understanding of the most common geophysical methods applied in shallow geological investigations.

In addition, students will be able to:

  • 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.
  • Design a geophysical investigation using several methods to suit a given challenge, and also understand the limitations which exists for the various geophysical methods. 
  • 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

  • 6 written assignments (group work or individual 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)

The work requirements must be completed by a set deadline.


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