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Introduction to geophysics

Classificatio n of geophysical methods

Seismic methods

Reflection methods

Refraction methods

Geophysics is the physics of the Earth and its

environment in space. Its subjects include the shape of the Earth, its gravitational and magnetic fields, the dynamics of the Earth as a whole and of its component parts, the Earth's internal structure, composition and tectonics, the generation of magmas, volcanism and rock formation, the hydrological cycle including snow and ice, all aspects of the oceans, the atmosphere, ionosphere, magnetosphere and solarterrestrial relations, and analogous problems associated with the Moon and other planets. Geophysical investigations involve simple methods of study made on the surface with the aim of ascertaining surface details.

Classification of geophysical methods

There are many kinds of geophysical methods of

investigation. All of them can be classified logically into six major groups based on the type of physical field measured or physical property of substance formations which controls the measured physical quantities. These methods are: 1) Gravity methods 2) Magnetic methods 3) Electric methods 4) Seismic methods 5) Radiometric methods and 6) Geothermal methods.


Seismic methods are the most commonly

conducted geophysical surveys for engineering investigations. They provide engineers and geologists with the most basic of geologic data via simple procedures with common equipment. Controlling property:- Elastic property differences in rocks in controlling property. Seismic methods of study are based on the principle that subsurface rock formations bear different elastic properties.

METHODS: Depending upon whether reflected waves or refracted waves are used in the investigation, there are two types of seismic methods. 1. Seismic reflection method and 2. Seismic refraction method EQUIPMENTS: Geophone or Seismometer Amplifier Galvanometer

In seismic methods, artificial explosions are made in

the ground. This seismic waves thus produced travel through the subsurface layers of the earth, suffer reflection or critical refraction and arrive at the surface of the earth where they are detected by geophones. From the time taken by the waves to travel through the subsurface formations and from the seismic wave velocity of the media, it is possible to determine the depths to various elastic boundaries. With the help of the geophones fixed at suitable intervals on the ground, the different seismic waves reaching the surface are recorded and from the times of arrival, time-distance covers are constructed.

Seismic reflection method

The seismic reflection technique maps the

subsurface stratigraphy based on density and velocity contrasts between earth materials. The seismic wave, generated at the ground surface, travels through the earth and is reflected an interfaces where a change in density and velocity occurs. The reflected waves are detected by a geophone array and recorded by a seismograph.

Seismic refraction method

The refraction method uses seismic waves,

introduced into the ground by a weight-drop source, to determine the compressional velocity of earth material. The seismic wave changes direction and speed, or refracted, as it propagates through the earth. When the refracted seismic wave impinges on an interface at a critical incident angle, the energy travels along the interface and sends seismic wavelets back to surface. Geophones placed at selected intervals along the ground surface detect the ground motion and send an electrical signal, via a cable, to the seismograph. The seismograph digitizes, amplifies, filters and records the incoming signals. Analysis of the arrival times of the refracted wave provides a means for calculating the seismic velocity and modeling depths to subsurface layers.

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