Geophysical Methods

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The aim of the course is to familiarize students with the main geophysical principles and methods used for studying the Earth's interior structure, development through time and active geodynamic processes, as well as for mapping structures and resources in the Earth's crust.

The principles and methods for reflection and refraction of seismic waves from earthquakes and artificial sources will be presented. Magnetic, gravity-based, electrical and electromagnetic methods for mapping the crust, radiometric dating of rocks, earthquake mechanisms and heat flow are other main themes. The individual methods and their application will be illustrated through examples and exercises.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student can

  • describe the principles for reflection and refraction of seismic waves, and their significance for mapping the crust and the Earth's interior structure
  • explain the connection between earthquakes and different fault mechanisms, and different methods for determining the strength and the location of an earthquake
  • explain the basic principles of magnetic, electric, electromagnetic and gravity based methods for studying the Earth's crust and its evolution
  • describe the principles for radiometric dating of rocks and heat flow in the Earth's crust


The student can

  • apply the basic principles to analyze and interpret different types of geophysical data
  • perform basic mathematical calculations related to geophysical data analysis
  • discuss how various geophysical methods are applied to solve actual geoscientific problems

General competence

The student can

  • apply an accurate terminology to describe and discuss geophysical methods and their application
  • visualize data using basic digital tools
  • demonstrate the ability to work alone and in cooperation with others
  • perform basic field work in accordance with the GEO/UiB HSE regulations
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course
Access to the course requires admission to a programme of study at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Teaching and learning methods

48 hours of teaching (4 hours/week)

24 hours of exercises (3 hours/week)

1 day field course

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Compulsory exercises and quizzes

Compulsory field participation

Compulsory exercises are valid for 2 additional semesters

Forms of Assessment

The forms of assessment consists of:

  • mandatory exercises and quizzes, account for 50% of total grade
  • written examination (3 hours), accounts for 50% of total grade

Digital exam, please visit:

Grading Scale
The grading scale used is A to F.
Assessment Semester
Examination both spring semester and autumn semester. In semesters without teaching the examination will be arranged at the beginning of the semester.In the event of an early examination in the following semester, the result from the other assessment parts will be kept. These cannot be taken up again, in semesters without tuition.
Reading List
The reading list will be available within July 1st for the autumn semester and Deecember 1st for the spring semester.
Course Evaluation
The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department.
Examination Support Material
Non-programmable calculator, according to the faculty regulations
Programme Committee
The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.
Course Coordinator
The course coordinator and administrative contact person can be found on Mitt UiB, or you may contact
Course Administrator
The Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Earth Science has the administrative responsibility for the course and program.