Rock Physics

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Goal: The main goal of this course is to give the students a theoretical fundament for interpretation of geophysical (seismic and electromagnetic) data with respect to both physical and microstructural parameters, and also modern methods for dynamic reservoir characterization based on integration of 4D geophysical data with historical reservoir production data. A further goal is to contribute to the establishment of a common language for geophysicists, geologists, reservoir engineers and applied mathematicians, that often need to collaborate to solve problems related to petroleum production, geothermal energy production and CO2 storage. 

Content: The syllabus includes elements of the theory for effective properties of micro-inhomogeneous media, up-scaling, mechanical properties of dry rocks, fluid flow and permeability, acoustic and seismic properties, electrical conductivity, dielectric properties, electromagnetic waves and diffusion, and thermal conductivity and heat flow. Special attention is given to analogies between different physical phenomena, and correlations between different physical properties.

Learning Outcomes

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

Knowledge: On completion of the course the student should have a deeper understanding of the relations that exist between geological processes, rock microstructures and effective physical properties at different scales. Emphasize is given on analogies between different physical properties, and the use of rock physics relations in different interdisciplinary applications, biased towards seismic rock physics.

Skills On completion of the course the student should

  • reproduce central mathematical derivations from syllabus
  • be able to solve new problems based on the compulsory theory
  • implement most rock physics relations on a computer
  • demonstrate general skills within rock physics modelling
  • discuss analogies between different physical phenomena
  • discuss interdisciplinary use of rock physics relations

General competence The student will obtain experience with

  • mathematical modelling of physical phenomena in general and seismic wave phenomena in particular
  • use of Matlab for numerical calculations
  • to work independently and in collaboration with others

ECTS Credits


Level of Study

Bachelor and master level

Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
This course is suitable for students with a good background in mathematics.
Access to the Course
Access to the course requires admission to a program of study at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Teaching and learning methods
  • Lectures, 2 hours/week
  • Supervised exercises, 2 hours/week
  • The lectures emphasize derivations of results from the list of syllabus, but also includes informal demonstrations and discussions of more applied nature, related with applications within integrated petroleum research and related topics like geophysical monitoring of CO2 storage and geothermal energy production. 

    The excercises includes problem solving and implementation of central parts of the theory in the form of different Matlab programs. The excercises are designed in such a way that the students get continuous assistance from the lecturer, and also exercise in collaborating with each others.

    Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

    The students must complete and hand in several problem sets in order to be allowed to take the final exam. These problem sets are only valid for the semester when the course is taught and the following semester (for the repeat exam in the spring).

    The compulsory exercises must be passed in order to sit the exam. Feedback on the compulsory exercises function as a formative evaluation.

    Forms of Assessment
    The forms of assessment are:Final written exam, 4 hours. Questions about the excercises are normally asked during the final written exam. This function as a summative evaluation.
    Grading Scale
    The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.
    Assessment Semester
    Examination both spring semester and autumn semester. In semesters without teaching the examination will be arranged at the beginning of the semester.
    Reading List
    The reading list will be available within July 1st for the autumn semester and December 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 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