Global and Applied Geophysics

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content


The overall goal of this course is to provide the students with a good understanding of global geophysics, applied geophysics and how they are related. A second goal of this course is to provide students with a practical understanding of how knowledge in these fields is acquired, in particular how tomographic results are analyzed and the importance of seismic and seismological methods. This practical understanding includes the ability to write computer programs of importance in these fields, including seismic ray tracing and seismic inversion.



In this course the students will learn about global geophysics, plate tectonics (especially mid-ocean ridges and subduction zones), mantle structure and dynamics, core structure and dynamics and interaction between mantle and core. Special emphasis is given to plate and plume modes of mantle convection. Aspects of applied geophysics covered includes earthquakes, volcanoes, hydrothermal systems, ore deposits and gas hydrates. These topics will be studied using recent review and research papers in the field. The students will also learn a number of numerical programming techniques (including interpolation, differentiation, integration, ordinary differential equations and inverse problems) an how these are used in geophysics, with emphasis on seismic and seismology to study Earth structure and dynamics.

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

  • has good general knowledge of global and applied geophysics and how data is collected and analyzed in these fields
  • has a good basic understanding of fundamental numerical methods used in geophysics, especially seismics and seismology, including interpolation, integration, differentiation, solving differential equations and inverse problems
  • knows how to conduct a literature study on a topic in global and applied geophysics and critically analyze these papers



The student

  • can analyse and criticize review papers on plate tectonics, the structure and dynamics of the mantle and core
  • can analyse and criticize papers in applied geophysics, including earthquakes, hydrothermal and geothermal systems and gas hydrates
  • can write a computer program that can be used as a starting point for analyzing data in global or applied geophysics
  • can give a presentation on a topic in global and applied geophysics
  • can explain the relationship between geophysics and other areas such as geology, geochemistry and oceanography
  • can perform an independent literature search on a topic in global and applied geophysics and write a short critical paper based on that literature study


General competence

The student

  • Has knowledge of global and applied geophysics and how these topics are related
  • can write computer programs of relevance in global and applied geophysics
  • understands how geophysical results are obtained, analyzed and used to improve knowledge of structure of dynamics of the Earth on various scales
  • is able to critically analyze and reflect on research in global and applied geophysics

ECTS Credits

Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
5 ECTS overlap with GEOV219
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

Total teaching of 12 weeks

10 weeks with active learning methods and presentations: 3 hours a week

10 weeks with programming: 3 hours a week

2 weeks: project work

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Mandatory active participation in all classes including all exercises, quizzes, oral presentations and written report; for all of these a minimum of E is required
Forms of Assessment

Following assessment

Exercises (30 %), quizzes (30%), oral presentations (20%), written report (20 %).

Grading Scale
The grading scale used is A to F. Grading A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.
Assessment Semester
Assessment only in teaching 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 programme will evaluated according to the quality assurance system of the University of Bergen.
Programme Committee
The programme committee is responsible for the academic content, the structure and the quality of the programme.
Course Administrator
The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences by the Depoartment of Earth Science holds the administrative responsibility for the programme.