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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Geophysical Techniques for Terrestrial Environmental Applications (EASC10085)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course will give students a flavour of geophysical techniques used to explore the shallow sub-surface, especially regarding contamination and pollution: the methods available, how surveys are conducted, how the data are processed and modelled, and their interpretation.

Students working subsequently for a local authority or environmental agency, for instance, should be able to assess a proposal from a geophysical consultant to know if it will address the problem at hand, is an appropriate method (or methods), if the survey is designed sensibly, and is reasonably costed.
Course description Physical property contrasts (what properties, what contrasts) and the methods that probe them. Which techniques work well (and which work poorly) in given situations. How to choose survey parameters (e.g. profile spacing, sampling rate along profile).
Electromagnetic methods, including EM34, VLF.
Resistivity, self-potential and induced polarisation/complex resistivity methods
Ground probing radar.
Seismic refraction.
Field data acquisition, processing and interpretation
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  3
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 65 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam: 50%, Course Work: 50 %, Practical Exam: 0%.

The exam lasts for 45 minutes and consists of one question from a choice of three.

Coursework comprises an afternoon collecting geophysical data over and near a landfill site, modelling and interpreting them (and data collected over the same area in previous years), plus producing a written report. The mark for the assessment will be based on the quality of your report, which will describe the data acquisition, modelling and interpretation. All the data is shared amongst the class, so there is no mark assigned to the quality of the data. However, you are expected to comment on the data quality and uncertainties, as well as the ambiguities in the models and their interpretation.
Feedback Feedback will be in the form of interaction with staff during several computer practicals and the fieldwork component of the course. Students are invited to submit the first, non-assessed computer practical as a report for written feedback.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)0:30
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. 1. Choose a method or methods for probing a specified environmental problem; know how to set up the survey and choose the survey parameters to best advantage; know how the survey is undertaken and the equipment used.
  2. Understand the resources required to collect and process the data.
  3. Understand the processing steps required to produce an interpretable anomaly for each of the methods discussed.
  4. Know whether the information that can be obtained is qualitative or quantitative.
  5. Understand and apply basic rules for interpreting depth to single-source anomalies.
Reading List
Reynolds, J.M., An Introduction to Applied and Environmental Geophysics, Wiley-Blackwell
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Group working (fieldwork); modelling to enhance basic computing (e.g. spreadsheet, graphics) skills
KeywordsGeophysics,pollution detection and monitoring,site survey
Course organiserDr Robert Bingham
Tel: (0131 6)51 4635
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Thomas
Tel: (0131 6)50 8510
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