2019-2020 / GEOL1021-1

Introduction to geophysical exploration


30h Th, 30h Pr, 5d FW

Number of credits

 Master in geology (120 ECTS)6 crédits 
 Master in oceanography (120 ECTS)6 crédits 
 Master in geology (60 ECTS)6 crédits 


Lucien Halleux, Frédéric Nguyen

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The general principles of non destructive ground investigation techniques and their main applications are briefly outlined in the introduction. The industrial and economical background is discussed.
The main geophysical techniques are described in the following chapters : seismic, gravity, magnetic, electromagnetic, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), and borehole logging. For each method, we shortly describe the physics and mathematics, the data acquisition, the data processing, the numerical inversion and the interpretation. The possibilities and limitations of the various methods are discussed. Some aspects are examined more in depth, taking into account the time available.
Examples related to various applications are presented (Oil & Gas exploration, mining, environmental problems, engineering, oceanographic survey, ...).

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

  • To understand how the main geophysical techniques work.
  • To know their main application fields.
  • To be able to discuss their possibilities and limitations.
  • To interprete geophysical results taking into account the geological background.
  • To understand petrophysical relationship, and geophysical imaging problems

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

A background in physics, math and earth sciences is required.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The practicals consist in presenting and analysing case histories and in using processing and modelling software. Field practicals are dedicated either to in situ geophysical operations or to the visit of specialised labs.

Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning)

Recommended or required readings

  • Slides available on: http://www.aug.geophys.ethz.ch/people/personalPages/laurent/laurent_teaching.htm

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral examination

Work placement(s)

Organizational remarks

Reference textbook: An introduction to Geophysical Exploration, 2007, P. Kearey, Blackwell Publishing.


Halleux Lucien
Nguyen Frédéric