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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Geophysical Measurement and Modelling (EASC10110)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is mainly about geophysical measurement and modelling, with selected practical examples. It includes the theory of geophysical fields and waves and both passive and active geophysical measurements. It also includes a lecture and practical on meteorological measurements.

The course includes Fourier analysis and filter theory, which form the rationale for the sampling and manipulation of the data.

The course introduces examples of the measurement of geophysical parameters both in the field and in the laboratory, with special attention to the handling of uncertainties in measured quantities. Practical exercises involve both acquisition and interpretation of the data.
The five practicals are distributed over the two semesters ¿ three in Semester 1 and two in Semester 2, with the relevant theory introduced before each practical, wherever possible.
Course description Semester 1
Week 1. No lectures or practicals
Week 2. Introductory lecture. Telegraph equation. Handling errors in scientific measurements. Accuracy and precision in measurements. Scientific report writing.
Potential fields: Newton's law of gravitation; gravity; gravitational potential; Laplace's equation; Poisson's equation; force due to electric charge and magnetic poles.

Week 3. Satellite orbits, Kepler elements and satellite motion.
Practical 1: Gravimetry and statistical data analysis - Computer exercise
Week 4. Acoustic wave equation: total time derivative and partial time derivative; acceleration of a particle; linearization; equation of continuity; pressure waves in a fluid; constitutive equation; 1-D, 2-D and 3-D acoustic wave equations; solution to the 1-D wave equation.
Week 5. Feedback on Practical Report 1.
Practical 2: Determining density of Silurian mudstones. - Laboratory and computer exercise.
Week 6. Seismic waves: components of strain and stress; equations of motion in an elastic medium; Hooke's law of elasticity; elastic wave equations, P-waves and S-waves; particle motion of a plane wave; solutions to the wave equation; normal modes: oscillations of a string.

Week 7
Practical 3: Thermal diffusivity of a rock core - Laboratory and computer exercise.
Week 8. Fourier Analysis and Filter Theory, Part 1: Fourier transform; the delta-function; resolution and bandwidth; similarity theorem; impulse function; impulse response; linear filters and convolution; convolution theorem; derivative theorem; wavefield transformation.
Week 9 Fourier Analysis and Filter Theory, Part 2: Sampling theorem and aliasing; filtering; correlation and autocorrelation; deconvolution; effects of noise; upward and downward continuation.
Week 10 Electromagnetic (EM) Waves: Maxwell¿s equations; EM constitutive relations; EM wave equations; plane wave solutions of the EM wave equations, skin depth, wavelength; EM propagation in air and free space; EM propagation in conducting media; diffusion equation.
Week 11 Revision.

Semester 2
Week 1 Passive Geophysical Measurements, Part 1: gravity anomalies; gravity meters, measurements and corrections; gravity gradiometry and gravity measurement on a moving vessel or aeroplane; non-uniqeness of gravity interpretation; magnetics; heat flow.
Week 2 Meteorological measurements: atmospheric turbulence.
Practical 4: Meteorological measurements - Computing exercise.

Week 3 Passive Geophysical Measurements, Part 2: The magnetotelluric method; classical seismology; Adams-Williamson equation.
Week 4 Active Geophysical Measurements, Part 1: seismic exploration and seismic data acquisition; reflection coefficients for acoustic waves; seismic exploration and normal moveout correction and stacking;
Practical 5: Seismic wave speed - Laboratory exercise.
Week 5 Active Geophysical Measurements, Part 2: Controlled source electromagnetics (CSEM) and the role of fluids; conventional CSEM; transient CSEM and MTEM;

Week 6 Green¿s theorem and some applications.
Week 7 Seismic sources and receivers; dynamite, air guns, Vibroseis and determination of source time functions; geophones, hydrophones and their response functions.

Week 8 Receiver functions: surface vector motion, P-S conversion, separation of P-wave from converted wave, P-wave and S-wave velocities in the crust and upper mantle.

Week 9 Revision.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Physics of the Earth (EASC08016) AND ( Algebra and Calculus (PHYS08041) OR Linear Algebra and Several Variable Calculus (PHYS08042))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesApproval of the Course Organiser.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 30, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 17, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 16, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 128 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment details
Exam (50%)
Coursework (50%)

The coursework consists of five practical exercises. The students are expected to do all five and write a report on each in no more than four pages. Written feedback will be provided on the first report.

Each of the subsequent four-page reports will count for 12.5%. The reports will count for a total of 50%. The three-hour exam will be on the whole course, including the practical exercises, and will count for 50%.

For information on deadlines please refer to the Learn page.
Assessment deadlines
Practical Report 1 (formative) - Semester 1, 12:00 Wednesday (Week 4).
Feedback on Practical Report 1 - Week 5
Practical Report 2 ¿ Semester 1, 12:00 Wednesday (Week 6).
Practical Report 3 ¿ Semester 1, 12:00 Wednesday (Week 8).
Practical Report 4 ¿ Semester 2, 12:00 Wednesday (Week 3).
Practical Report 5 ¿ Semester 2, 12:00 Wednesday (Week 5).
Feedback Feedback will be given on the first practical exercise report, which will not be assessed.

Tutorials will be held in most weeks to cover problems set in lectures and to cover any questions on the course material.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Geophysical Measurement and Modelling2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate familiarity with essential mathematical techniques
  2. Demonstrate familiarity with the application of classical physics to Earth problems
  3. Analyse observational data including examples of statistical and numerical methods, graphical interpretation and computer modelling
  4. Appreciate the manipulation of geophysical data to obtain physical properties of the Earth
  5. Write a concise scientific report, or extended abstract, of no more than four pages
Reading List
Blackwell, J &Martin, J., 2011, A Scientific Approach to Scientific Writing, Springer
Gauch, H.J., 2012, Scientific Method in Brief,, Cambridge University Press.
Berendsen, J.C., 2011, A student's guide to data and error analysis, Cambridge University Press.
Lowrie, W., Fundamentals of Geophysics, Cambridge University Press.
Lowrie, W., A Student's Guide to Geophysical Equations, Cambridge University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Report-writing skills
KeywordsGeophysical equations,Fourier theory,data analysis,laboratory measurements,computer modelling
Course organiserProf Anton Ziolkowski
Tel: (0131 6)50 8511
Course secretaryMr Johan De Klerk
Tel: (0131 6)50 7010
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