What is Geophysics?
View Slideshow As the name implies, geophysics involves the application of physical theories and measurements to discover the properties of the earth. The discipline dates to antiquity, mainly as a scientific approach to earthquake prediction (a problem still unsolved), but major progress began in the late 1500s with initial work in such areas as magnetism and gravity. Tremendous improvements in instrumentation in the early years of the 20th century generated rapid progress in geophysics and ultimately led, in the 1960s, to the theory of plate tectonics. Plate tectonics, the study of the interior structure of the earth, and such related areas as global and regional processes are known collectively as solid earth geophysics. The subdiscipline known as exploration geophysics involves the use of geophysical theory and instrumentation to locate petroleum and other mineral sources. Unlike solid earth geophysics, exploration geophysics generally concentrates on finding lateral heterogeneitie
Geophysicists apply principles and techniques of physics to the quantitative description of Earth, the other planets, and the interplanetary medium. A geophysicist must acquire skills in physics and mathematics as well as learn the geological processes on Earth and its environment in space. This knowledge is combined to reduce complex phenomena in the real world to mathematical or physical models that further our understanding of Earth’s physical characteristics and behavior. Studies of Earth fall into four main categories: its origin, evolution, composition, and structure. Basic to these is the origin and evolution of the Solar System, including the astronomical environment, the materials of the planets, and their behavior since formation. Models of Earth’s interior use fluid dynamics, knowledge of the material properties, and high-pressure physics to explore the planet’s evolution. Seismology provides direct information on Earth structure, which is used in conjunction with gravity, h
Geophysics is a non-destructive and non-invasive Earth Science that uses the very latest science and technology in instrumentation, data acquisition and advanced computer modelling and interpretation in subsurface exploration. We use seismic, magnetic, electromagnetic, radiometric and gravitational technologies and techniques to determine the structure and composition of natural (and sometimes artificial) materials below the Earth’s surface without the need for drilling or excavation.