What is Geophysics: Definition and 67 Discussions

Geophysics () is a subject of natural science concerned with the physical processes and physical properties of the Earth and its surrounding space environment, and the use of quantitative methods for their analysis. The term geophysics sometimes refers only to solid earth applications: Earth's shape; its gravitational and magnetic fields; its internal structure and composition; its dynamics and their surface expression in plate tectonics, the generation of magmas, volcanism and rock formation. However, modern geophysics organizations and pure scientists use a broader definition that includes the water cycle including snow and ice; fluid dynamics of the oceans and the atmosphere; electricity and magnetism in the ionosphere and magnetosphere and solar-terrestrial physics; and analogous problems associated with the Moon and other planets.Although geophysics was only recognized as a separate discipline in the 19th century, its origins date back to ancient times. The first magnetic compasses were made from lodestones, while more modern magnetic compasses played an important role in the history of navigation. The first seismic instrument was built in 132 AD. Isaac Newton applied his theory of mechanics to the tides and the precession of the equinox; and instruments were developed to measure the Earth's shape, density and gravity field, as well as the components of the water cycle. In the 20th century, geophysical methods were developed for remote exploration of the solid Earth and the ocean, and geophysics played an essential role in the development of the theory of plate tectonics.
Geophysics is applied to societal needs, such as mineral resources, mitigation of natural hazards and environmental protection. In Exploration geophysics, geophysical survey data are used to analyze potential petroleum reservoirs and mineral deposits, locate groundwater, find archaeological relics, determine the thickness of glaciers and soils, and assess sites for environmental remediation.

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  1. AryaKimiaghalam

    A Unsolved Problems in Near Surface Geophysics

    Hi everyone, In the past when I was doing my undergrad in physics, I sometimes looked at this page for inspiration in research. However, I was unable to find a similar one for applied geophysics. Currently, my area of research is exploration non-seismic geophysics, where the focus is on near...
  2. getsrawal

    Wyllie time-average equation vs Gardner's equation vs RHG Equation for porosity

    If you were estimating porosity from velocity, which approach would you prefer to use among Wyllie time-average equation, Gardner's equation Or RHG Equation, when and why? My answer is RHG equation as wylllie equation don't work for unconsolidate sand and give accurate results when it is...
  3. AryaKimiaghalam

    Why isn't Geophysics a division of the APS?

    Curious to know why...
  4. Angelo Pascal

    Geophysics: Fluid Dynamics Problem

    (a) Write down an expression for the velocity field corresponding to uniform rotation. Find the vorticity corresponding to this flow. (b) Consider a small perturbation u' to the state of uniform rotation with angular velocity Ω, which has the form of a plane harmonic wave u'= A exp i(k·x−ω t) +...
  5. R

    Physics Is the Job Market for Geophysics in Canada Uncertain Due to the Pandemic?

    Hi all. This is my first post in the physics forum! My name is Raymond. I have recently graduated with a double major in Physics and Geophysics in Canada. My initial goal was to pursue Exploration Geophysics/Hydrology in grad school ( University of Toronto/UBC/University of Calgary) and go to...
  6. P

    What is the maximum depth to which a P-wave ray can travel?

    I've created an excel spreadsheet with the given model in addition to calculating radius of the layer by subtracting depth from 6371. I've calculated Zf. I've also found what I think is vs by doing alpha * (radius column/6371), but that could be wrong. I know I need to find where 20/6371 =...
  7. P

    Solving for earthquake transit time via Snell's Law

    I was told to solve the second equation above for x to get l2 and l2, but that only gets me those in terms of other unknowns. I'm assuming I just need to solve t for my knowns, but I keep getting caught up by my unknowns. i.e., solving for x gives x = (l2*L*v2)/(l1*v1+l2*v2). Please note "l" is...
  8. Mikkel

    Python Numerical modeling of a glacier's length -- Coding error(s)

    Hey Physics Forum I am currently doing my bachelor project in geophysics, with focus on the evolution of glaciers in Greenland. My project consists partly of programming, because I want to get better at it. I have, however, hit a wall. I can't seem to figure out what is wrong with my code and I...
  9. C

    Imperial-Metric Unit conversion for Magnetic Field Gradiometer?

    Hi all, I have a question which I think should be a simple solve for most people but I cannot seem to get my head around it. It is a common case in geophysical surveying that a magnetic field vertical gradiometer might be used. This instrument uses two magnetometers separated by a known...
  10. E

    Physics Career progression in Geophysics?

    Hey All, I am a soon to be graduate (this spring) from my masters degree in particle physics in Canada, I do not want to do 4+ more years of school for a PhD, so I am job hunting at the moment. I was looking for jobs in finance and or tech approaching graduation, however I fear tech job...
  11. A

    Is there an equation linking phase relation and properties in mantle?

    I have information about temperature, pressure, normal and shear stresses, viscosity, conductivity, density, heat capacity and adiabatic heating for a particular area of mantle in the form of 2D matrices. I want to show phase relation for this region of mantle. Is there an equation (group of...

    PBL Velocity Profile: Sinusoidal Variation w/ Height

    Why does the planetary boundary layer velocity profile shows a sinusoidal variation with height? Reference: Fig:14.10 Page 576 Fluid Mechanics - Kundu and Cohen 2nd edition
  13. R

    DNS in Geophysics: Resources & Implementation

    Hi all, I am soon starting a research project into Earths core dynamics, and will be using a pre existing code. I understand the principle of DNS and resolving for all different resolutions. But I do not really understand how to implement that efficiently. Does anyone have any good resources...
  14. R

    Is a Master's in Carbon Management Enough to Pursue a PhD in Geophysics?

    Hi everyone, I'm currently doing an MSc in Carbon Management at the University of Edinburgh, and have decided that I enjoy the geophysics aspects (renewable energies, etc.) more than the economics/policy aspects in which I have undergraduate experience. Given this, I'd like to pursue a PhD in...
  15. S

    Energy partitioning (Attenuation)

    Homework Statement A seismic wave travel from surface, is reflected at the fifth of a series of horizontal interfaces. Each has a reflection coefficient "R" of 0.15. What is the total attenuation in amplitude caused by energy partitioning at all encountered interfaces, when the wave returns to...
  16. loya Blaise

    Calculating Velocities, dip and depth of a refractor

    https://scontent-vie1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t34.0-12/14955857_1113106435476531_5016282393940245289_n.jpg?oh=c2e50935ccd57a0863d5f00c5b56653a&oe=5821DD35 Shot point A and B are located at a 225m spread of 16 geophones. Using the data in the attachment, Find 1. The Velocities, V1and V2 2. The Dip()...
  17. Alissa95

    Career that lets you travel lots/to remote locations?

    At the moment I am about to enter my final year of an MSci Physics with Particle Physics and Cosmolgy. My final year project will have me working on particle detector R&D (looking at designs and radiation hard technologies to upgrade LHCb's ECAL). The natural progression from that was to do a...
  18. A

    New High School Physics Teacher

    Hi! I am one class away from graduating with a degree in geology from my university. I have a specific interest in geophysics and spent my summer in Ecuador (and spent some time at their Geophysics institute) and in New Mexico working with Los Alamos National Lab using geophysical techniques...
  19. T

    Programs To continue with the geosciences or go geotech engineering?

    I have a bachelors in geophysics and am currently deciding between attending a school for a masters in geoscience/geophysics and attending a school for a masters in geotechnical engineering. They are both funded to a degree, with the geoscience masters being extremely well funded versus the...
  20. Mikkel

    Uncertain about which road I should go down in physics

    Hello everybody! I've decided to study physics at the university this summer. I know, I want to study physics - it's just too damn fascinating to ignore. My uncertainty lies in what field of physics I should study. I have narrowed it down to Geophysics or Astrophysics, because they can be...
  21. Farah AbdlGhany

    Numerical course in geophysics

    I am studying numerical and programming course in this semester, I was asked to know the applications of this course (numerical methods like Bisection, Newton Raphson, Secant, Simpson, Euler and Lagrange) in geophysics and how can I exploit these methods in seismic or in geophysics in general...
  22. J

    Geophysics undergraduate interested in environmental law

    Hello, I am a first year undergraduate student studying geophysics. While I love geophysics and all the geosciences, I'm very interested in going into environmental law. Is this a plausible undergraduate degree for a career in environmental law? I have always loved studying government and...
  23. N

    Using Airy's Model of isostatic equilibrium, solve for....

    Homework Statement Using Airy's Model of isostatic equilibrium, solve for the average anti-root height due to the ocean and the average density of the upper mantle. given info: ocean depth avg = 4km ocean crust is 10 km thick avg continental crust if 40 km thick avg all crust is the same...
  24. RJLiberator

    Soliciting Ideas for "Research Proposals" GeoPhysics

    Hello Physics Forums, For my Geophysics course we are going to be outlining and presenting a 'proposed study' for a geophysical research assignment. We will not be going through with the study, but rather outline it, propose it, and show our expected results. I wanted to try to farm some ideas...
  25. G

    Furthering Physics education inline with current job

    Hi, I have a Degree in Pure Physics and I was recruited last year as a cadet hydrographer for a mine. Hydrography is the branch of applied sciences which deals with the measurement and description of the physical features of terrestrial water catchments, as well as with the prediction of their...
  26. NaturalSymphony

    Geophysics: Dynamic form factor and Equipotential surfaces

    I've got the following problem which I need help with. I'm used to calculating coefficients when the problem is about ellipsoids and first order approximations. But when it comes to spheres and coefficients J_n I really don't know how to approach the problem. Can somebody help me out? Consider...
  27. M

    Minoring in Physics: Choosing Between Chemistry & Geology

    I'm currently doing a bachelors degree in applied physics, which minor goes along with physics? Chemistry or Geology? Which is in demand? (Our minors are 18 credit hours)
  28. N

    Geophysics Questions: Magnetic & Gravimetric Answers

    Hello, Could you tell me help with two questions, please The question reads as follows: 1) Magnetic methods: According magnetic values matic susceptibility minerals can be classified into three basic groups that have their names. Bring designation of these groups and their most...
  29. neosoul

    Physics How Can Geophysics Skills Benefit a Career in Patent Law?

    How does being a geophysicist or geophysical engineer in particular tie into becoming a patent law? How could geophysics be useful when doing patents?
  30. A

    Project topics on Geophysics or Remote Sensing or Electronics

    Am a Physics undergraduate student; I need project topics based on Geophysics or Remote Sensing or Electronics
  31. O

    Schools Graduate school in applied math, physics, or engineering?

    Im about to graduate with a physics and math double major, so I'm currently searching for graduate programs that include applied physics, applied math, and engineering. Ultimately I am interested in applying science/math to practical applications in engineering or Earth science. My goal is to...
  32. Strangelet

    Theoretical Physics or Earth Physics?

    Good Evening to everyone! I'm currently a student of theoretical physics. I have a Bachelor Degree in Physics and I'm from Italy. When you finish your B.D. you can choose to go on with your studies in order to get a Master Degree (other 2 years of study) and here you can choose your curricula...
  33. angiepadron

    Physics or Geophysics: Graduate's Dilemma

    Hi. I'm an argentinean that's 5 days away of graduating from high school. I love physics but I'm doubting on getting a physics degree because of the limited laboral field. I feel that I'd be unhappy if I don't study physics but I'll be even more unhappy if I become a physicist that has to...
  34. jbrussell93

    Should I Retake the GRE for Geophysics PhD Programs?

    Hey all. It has been a while since I've posted a question in the academic guidance section so here we go. I am a physics major who just took the general GRE and am a bit disappointed in my scores. V 157 (74%) Q 161 (80%) I scored much higher on the quantitative during practice tests (>90%)...
  35. A

    Atmospheric physics / geophysics.

    I'm a 2nd year applied physics student in university and I'm wondering if anyone has advice on careers in atmospheric physics / geophysics. Although it is controversial I would like to go into the field of research of climate control by injecting volcanic ash into the atmosphere. Does...
  36. B

    Interview for Petroleum Geophysics

    I am coming towards the end of my undergraduate degree in Physics with Astrophysics and have recently been applying for taught MSc courses in Petroleum/Exploration Geophysics. I have no experience in Geology whatsoever although I know that many physics undergrads are accepted onto these...
  37. R

    Exploration Geophysics with a Masters in Physics

    Hello, I'm currently in my second semester of a Masters in Physics program. I hadn't given much thought to careers before I started, but now that I've been looking into them, I think I 'd most enjoy Exploration Geophysics. Is it likely that I'll find a job in it with a Masters in Physics...
  38. J

    Geophysics vs. Petroleum Engineering

    I am currently a Molecular Biology major at The University of Texas at Dallas, but I am thinking about switching to Geosciences with an emphasis on Geophysics, only because the school doesn't offer a Petroleum Engineering Degree. Is this a good substitute? I would then go on to finish a Masters...
  39. T

    Math or Geophysics: Making a Decision on Physics Major

    Hello all, I am a first year physics major and I am hoping for some guidance. I am looking into careers that I would like and majors that interest me because I am still undecided on which to ultimately presue. I really do not want a job that is strictly in doors and nothing very interesting so I...
  40. B

    Should I take a closer look at Geophysics?

    Hey everyone! I'm currently undecided on whether I should study Economics or Geophysics. The main reason I'm undecided is because I don't have much of a clue what kinds of careers are open for Geophysicitst. After taking a course in General Geology this semester, I found topics such as Plate...
  41. L

    Geophysics further study after physics BS

    Does anyone here know much about going into geophysics from a physics BS? I'm trying to figure out what extra prerequisites would be needed - different schools are giving different answers :/ I've also heard it's less competitive than physics graduate school, but I'm not sure what sort of GPA...
  42. R

    Programs Is it possible for a geophysics major to get into astronomy/physics research?

    Hi, so I was initially planning on becoming a geologist, the subject does interest me but a major motivation for this was of course the money. Anyways I would always try to squeeze in astronomy classes as my electives and would spend a lot of time reading and watching documentaries about...
  43. jbrussell93

    Questions about summer opportunities in geophysics

    I'm in the process of narrowing down summer research opportunities that I will apply for this summer. I'm an undergrad physics major and I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out which programs I should be looking for. I'm interested in finding a position that will allow me to get some field...
  44. jbrussell93

    Most useful physics elective for geophysics?

    I'm a physics major and choosing my classes for next semester but I'm not sure which physics elective is most useful for geophysics. I'm only beginning to take geology classes so I'm not sure exactly what will be helpful from the physics side of things. I guess this thread could also be labeled...
  45. N

    Geophysics vs. Medical Physics

    I am having a difficult time choosing which path to follow in school. Does anyone have, or know anyone with experience in either of the titular fields? Also, can one, with an undergraduate BSc in Physics, pursue either of the fields in graduate school? Since my interest lies in physics, and I...
  46. C

    Programs Geophysics and Optoelectronics majors

    I'm wondering if I can get a bit of advice - The University I'm applying to (for undergraduate study) offers two majors which I'm curious about - Optoelectronics and Geophysics. I sort of understand what each is about, but I'm just wondering if anyone can offer any thoughts as to how...
  47. J

    Chemical Physics or Geophysics?

    I have been accepted into a chemical physics PhD program with a concentration in optoelectronics, but now I'm considering geophysics as a more preferable major. However, I've already said I would attend and there doesn't seem to be enough time to apply to a different school. Furthermore...
  48. Z

    Geophysics to Physics: Making the Transition

    I am an undergrad with geophysics major. Well...my course does contain some substantial amount of physics, but it does lack the thrills of quantum mechanics and particle physics(and probably something more). Frankly, i am highly fascinated by the subjects like QM, particle physics. I...
  49. D

    Astrophysics or Geophysics as grad work?

    First of all just joined and wanted to say hello. I am starting at a 4 year in the Fall after some work at a community college. I am looking on advice on which path i should take for my grad work. Right now the goal is studying, then hoping to find a career, studying gravity and magnetic...
  50. C

    Engineering Geophysics Vs engineering geology

    I am quite confuse over this 2 course . I am not sure which to pick . Can anyone provide me some information regarding the career path difference for this 2 courses ( geophysics and engineering geology/geotechnical) Thank you