GEOPHYS 761 : Subsurface Characterisation with Geophysical Methods


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Pertains to subsurface characterisation through the inversion of geophysical observations. The course covers a combination of rock physics, seismic methods, ground-penetrating radar, as well as gravity, magnetic and electrical methods.

Course Overview

This course provides an opportunity to gain practical knowledge in applied geophysics including rock physics, specialised techniques in reservoir geophysics, and geophysical interpretation skills.  

This course consists of four modules, rock physics, multicomponent seismology, and two modules of potential-field methods.  The course is designed around problem-based projects.  After a brief introduction, the students will be asked to acquire specialist knowledge from papers provided in the course, conduct analyses of scientific data, evaluate results, and conclude by compiling their findings in the style of scientific reports. 

This course provide advanced knoweldge for those wishing to have a career in a variety of fields involving geophysical surveying, mineral prosepcting, or geological engineering, including further post-graduate research.  Students also develop skills in independently familiarising themselves with new geophysical techniques for given geoscientific questions.

Earthsci 763 and Geophys 761 are co-taught in 2020 but both assignments and final exams will differ with more focus on theoretical aspects for Geophys 761.  Earthsci 763 can be selected as part of the BSc (hons), PGDIP, or MSc in Earth Science, as well as the Master of Engineering Geology.  Geophys 761 is part of the BSc (hons), PGDIP, or MSc in Geophysics for students who are interested in the solid earth.  Students from neighboring fields are very welcome to join and should contact the course coordinator re. expected background knowledge.
Please note: Ground penetrating radar will not be taught in 2020.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: GEOPHYS 330, EARTHSCI 361 or GEOLOGY 361 or GEOPHYS 361 or equivalent Restriction: GEOPHYS 763

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the background behind seismic and potential field methods (Capability 1)
  2. Develop, design and justify strategies for analysis of geophysical data (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  3. Critically analyse geophysical data with focus on rock physics, seismic, and potential field data (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  4. Write scientific reports on analysis of geophysical data. (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Final Exam 25% Individual Examination
Reports 75% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Final Exam

Key Topics

The objectives of this course are to enable you to:  
• Rock physics: Explain the principles behind the physical properties of rocks that control seismic wave propagation and electrical properties.  
• Multicomponent seismology: Describe and apply P- and S-wave reflection seismic techniques to study hydrocarbon reservoirs.
• Potential field interpretation (two modules): Execute a geophysical interpretation project.   

Learning Resources

Material such as scientific reports and papers will be provided throughout the course.

Special Requirements


Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 24 hours of a mix of targeted lectures and laboratories, 66 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 60 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 07/07/2020 09:04 p.m.