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Unit information: Petroleum Geophysics in 2018/19

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Unit name Petroleum Geophysics
Unit code EASC20036
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Verdon
Open unit status Not open

EASC10001, EASC10007, EASC10008, MATH11004, PHYS10006, PHYS10005 and PHYS11400



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


This unit will provide an overview of the geophysical methods used in the petroleum industry. Special emphasis will be placed on the seismic reflection method, as this is the primary technique used in the industry. New and emerging techniques, such as gravity, magnetics, microseismic monitoring, and controlled source EM, will also be introduced.

A day of fieldwork will be used to collect seismic reflection data that will be processed in the practicals. The unit aim is to provide the theory, acquisition strategies, processing methods and interpretation behind each technique.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of the course students will:

  • Understand what geophysical methods are used in petroleum exploration.
  • Understand the principles of seismic reflection processing.
  • Understand the basics of passive seismic monitoring.
  • Understand how electro-magnetic methods in the petroleum industry.
  • Understand how gravity methods are used in exploration.
  • Have hands on experience collecting and processing seismic reflection data.
  • Understand current challenges and frontier areas of petroleum exploration.

Teaching details

30 Lectures, 10 practicals and 1 day of fieldwork

Assessment Details

• Practicals (20%). A series of weekly practicals will complement the theory taught in lectures through numerical exercises.

• Extended practical (10%). Students will acquire and process seismic reflection data and then produce a summary of their results and interpretation.

• 3-hour written examination (70%). This will assess the student’s understanding of the theoretical aspects of the course.

Reading and References


  • R. Sheriff and L. Geldart: ‘Exploration Seismology’, 2nd edition, CUP, 1995.
  • H. Burger, A. Sheehan and C. Jones: ‘Introduction to Applied Geophyiscs, Norton Press, 2006.