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Unit Overview


Exploration seismology is perhaps the most important geophysical method available for imaging the Earth's subsurface. It is invaluable in the exploration for geological resources such as petroleum, minerals, groundwater, geothermal energy etc., and also for other applications such as imaging of geologic structure at regional, basin and tectonic scales. Students learn the physical and mathematical theory underlying modern exploration seismology, and apply these concepts to real seismic data sets in computer laboratories and assignments. Topics include all major aspects of exploration seismology such as elastic and acoustic wave propagation, rock and fluid physics, seismic data acquisition methods, sources and sensors, data signal processing and filter theory, seismic image processing, seismic inversion, and quantitative seismic interpretation methods.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 4 elective

Students are able to (1) understand the physical and mathematical theory underlying seismic exploration methods, formulate and solve quantitative physical analysis problems; (2) understand and apply concepts in digital signal processing, seismic image processing and seismic inversion; and (3) understand the relationships between wave propagation and rock/fluid physical properties, and relate them to seismic data and images via quantitative interpretation and analysis techniques.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) quizzes; (2) problem sets; and (3) computer laboratories. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor David Lumley
Unit rules
PHYS1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers or equivalent
or PHYX1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers
and MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods or equivalent
Contact hours
lectures: 6 hours in class plus 6 hours preparation per week
computer labs: 3 hours in class plus 5 hours out of class per week
examination revision: 20 hours (aim for a 6-week block teaching)
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.