GG450:  Geophysical Methods

Instructors: Garrett Ito (, POST 810) &

Greg Moore (, POST 807)

Prerequisites: GG250 (Scientific Programming), GG303 (Structural Geology), MATH241-242 (Calculus I & II), PHYS 272 (Calculus based introductory physics II), or equivalent coursework

Textbook: Basic Exploration Geophysics, Robison & Coruh




Course Objectives:

·Improve abilities in independent reasoning and problem solving applied to geophysics

·Improve skills in mathematics, physics, and computer programming

·Enhance skills in writing, oral communication, and team work

·Provide experience in geophysical data acquisition, analysis, and interpretation used in geoscience-related careers in research, industry, and consulting.



·Class time/place: TR, 9:00-10:15 am, POST 703

·Laboratory work: Tuesdays 1:30-4:20 pm, POST 723. Labs will involve field experiments as well as computer programming and analysis.  Lab assignments are due the following Tuesday at the beginning of the lab.  See guide for lab write-ups. 

·Late Homework/Lab policy: You have 3 “grace days” for late homework and 3 grace days for late lab reports. That is, you can turn in a total of three assignments a day late, or one assignment three days late. Assignments turned in late without “grace credit” will be penalized by 10% per day. Weekends count as 1.5 days.

Kilo-Moana_300px·Grading Policy:  Homework: 35%; Labs: 25%; Exams(1 midterm & 1 final): 25%; Class participation: 15%


Geophysical cruise: Feb 20-25

This is a 5-day cruise on board Hawaii’s R/V Kilo Moana to the North Arch Volcanic field.  Labs and classes will be held on board. 





Working Course Syllabus


Week 1: Introduction & Physics Review

Tue. 1/12  Physics:  kinematics & dynamics

Tue 1/12   No Lab                                                                                            

Thu.  1/14 HW1-Math & Physics due, Gravity lecture


Week 2: Chapter 7.  Gravity on the Earth

Tue 1/19   Newton’s law of gravity, gravimeters, Earth’s normal gravity

Tue. 1/19  Lab 1-Gravimeter and Free-Air Effect (see also additional files)     

Thu 1/21  HW2-Nature of and Measuring Gravity due


Week 3: Chapter 8.  Gravity Surveying

Tue 1/26  Gravity Reductions         

Tue 1/26  Lab 2- Density of St. Louis Heights Ridge:  elevation data (Lab 1 due)

Thu 1/28  HW3 Gravity Surveying (download “data.hw3.txt”) due


Week 4: Chapter 9.  Bouguer Gravity and Geology

Tue 2/2    Gravitational Attraction of Structures with Various Shapes

Tue 2/2    No Lab

Thu 2/4    HW4 Bouguer gravity and analysis due (get hw4.boug.txt if you’re not confident in your Bouguer anomaly from HW3)


Week 5: Chapter 10.  Earth Magnetism, Reading is from W. Lowrey, “Fundamentals of Geophysics” as well as H. R. Burger, “Geophysics of the Shallow Subsurface”

Tue 2/9    Dipole field (Reading from Lowrey)

Tue 2/9    Lab 3 Kualoa Magnetics Survey (Lab 2 due)

Thu 2/11  HW 5 “Total field anomaly over a sphere” due (see also “dipole.m”), lecture on Earth’s field


Week 6: Chapter 10 & Chapter 11 Surveying the Anomalous Magnetic Field

Tue 2/16  Earth’s main magnetic field, Surveying techniques

Tue 2/16  Lab 3b Analysis and interpretation of Kualoa Magnetics

Thu 2/18 HW6 “Physics of Magnetism and the Earth’s Magnetic Field” due


Week 7: Kilo-Moana Cruise 2/20-2/25

Chapter 12 Magnetic Anomalies and Their Geologic Sources

Sat 2/20 Boat leaves at 8:00 a.m.  Rock Magnetism

Sun 2/21 Anomalies Caused by Ideally Magnetized Bodies

Mon 2/22 Lab 4I- Shipboard gravity analysis

                  Echo sounding

Tue 2/23 Lab 4I- Shipboard gravity analysis

Wed 2/24

Thu 2/25 Back in Honolulu 11:00 a.m.                                                     


Week 8: No Class (time to make up missed classes during cruise)

Tue 3/2    No Class

Tue 3/2    No Lab, Lab 3 Kualoa Magnetics due

Thu 3/4   Hw 7 Magnetization and Anomalies from Magnetized Bodies due


Week 9: Midterm

Tue 3/9    Review for Midterm, Revisions for Homeworks 1-7 due

Tue 3/9    Lab 4II

Thu 3/11  Midterm


Week 10:  Seismics

Tue 3/16 Seismic Waves – Theory I (Lecture Notes)

Tue 3/16  Lab 5 -- Seismic/Digital Signals (Lab Notes)(Homework Due Thu 4/1)

Thu 3/18  Seismic Waves – Theory II (Class cancelled due to field trip)


Spring Break 3/22-3/26


Week 11:  Seismics

Tue 3/30  Seismic Refraction Theory (Lecture Notes)

Tue 3/30  Lab 6 – Seismic Refraction Field Lab (Notes)(Lab Assignment)(SeisImager Instructions)

Thu 4/1   Seismic Refraction Interpretation (Lecture Notes)(Homework Due Thu 4/8)


Week 12:  Seismics

Tue 4/6    Seismic Reflection Theory (Lecture Notes)

Tue 4/6    Lab 7 – Seismic Reflection (Lab Assignment seis1ddata.m ricker.m txrefl.m rfltim.m seis1d.m signal.m)

Thu 4/8    Seismic Reflection Acquisition (Lecture Notes)


Week 13:  Seismics

Tue 4/13  Seismic Reflection Processing I (Lecture Notes)

Tue 4/13  Lab 8 – Seismic Reflection Processing (Lab Assignment)

Thu 4/15  Seismic Reflection Processing II (Lecture Notes) (Homework Due Thu 4/22)


Week 14:  Seismics

Tue 4/20  Seismic Reflection Interpretation I (Lecture Notes)

Tue 4/20  Lab 9 – Seismic Reflection Interpretation (Lab Assignment Due Tues 4/27)

Thu 4/22 Seismic Reflection Interpretation II (Lecture Notes)(Homework Due Thu 4/29)


Week 15:  Geophysical Well Logging

Tue 4/27  Well Logging Theory (Lecture Notes)

Tue 4/27  Lab 10 – Well logs (Lab Assignment Due Tues 5/4)(Data file)(Matlab script)

Thu 4/29 Well Logging II


Week 16:  Review

Tue 5/4:  Lab 10 due (in class)

                  Review for Final Exam (Notes)

Tue 5/4: Review of gravity and magnetics during Lab time


Final Examination 5/13 9:45-11:45 am