Introduction to Geophysics

GEOL 485. Geophysics (4)

Prerequisite, calculus co-requisite. Quantitative interpretation of seismic,  gravity, heat flow and magnetic data. Offered in alternate years.

The basic observational tools of geophysics- seismology, geoid analysis, heat flow and magnetization, will be introduced and developed in a quantitative fashion, employing math at the level of basic Calculus.   Basic Elasticity theory is presented, from which the properties of body wave propagation are derived.  Interpretation of seismic data will be discussed.    Other topics to be covered include gravity and the geoid, Isostasy,  and heat flow constraints.   Labs:   Sequence of computational labs employing Sun Unix workstations will be used to familiarize the student with the computational geophysics within the Unix environment.

   These Web Resources

Course handouts, lectures, labs, and homework sets are given below in either html or pdf format.  Handouts with equations are given in pdf format, since html does not currently support decent looking math typefonts. To view these, you will need to download Adobe Acrobat, for free, from  It is available for all major computer platforms (Unix, Mac, Windows, etc).  For others, the html format of each page should suffice, although it may not flow as nicely as the pdf.

Course Outline


Overview of Geophysics (13mb pdf file; tryin' to shrink it.

Introduction to Stress

Introduction to Strain

Strain handout 1

Elasticity Examples

Homework 1

Elasticity Theory








Gravity, the Geoid, and Isostasy


Homework 2

Heat Flow Notes

Homework 3



Terrestrial Heat Flow


Introduction to Seismic Waves

Lab 3 -Introduction to Seismic Analysis Code

Deriving the Wave Equation

Homework 4

Lab 4- Analyzing Seismic Data with SAC