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Unit Overview


Geophysical methods are in common use whenever there is a need to map or detect features in the shallow subsurface. Examples include locating ancient and modern graves, mapping shallow marine sediments, assessing groundwater quality and mapping polluted and saline areas, and determining depth to bedrock. This unit will cover the common geophysical methods used for shallow (near-surface) investigation for geoscientific, archaeological, forensic, marine science, agricultural, hydrogeological and engineering applications. Particular emphasis is placed on studies of the sea floor using acoustic methods, hydrogeological studies using electrical and electromagnetic methods and agricultural applications of geophysics.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Non-standard teaching periodOnlineOnline timetabled
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 4 elective
  • Honours option in Earth Science [Bachelor of Science (Honours)]

Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of basic principles and applications of geophysical methods used to address near-surface geoscientific, archaeological, agricultural, environmental and geotechnical problems; (2) demonstrate proficiency in geophysical interpretation and data integration; (3) understand what relevant information can (and cannot) be derived from geophysical datasets; (4) demonstrate an understanding of the role, strengths and limitations of common geophysical techniques; and (5) effectively communicate geophysical results.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) practical exercises and (2) quizzes. 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 Mike Dentith
Unit rules
Enrolment in
73540 Master of Petroleum Geoscience
or 72540 Master of Hydrogeology
or 72550 Master of Geoscience
or HON-GEOGY Geology
or HON-GEOPH Geophysics
Contact hours
3 x 4 hour workshops per week for 5 weeks
  • 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.