Solid Earth and Exploration Geophysics

Course Details

Course Number
GEOS 3533
Spring 2014
Bolin Hall
Classroom Number
Days & Times

Lecture - 12 Noon to 12:50 PM MWF in Bolin 125

Lab - 1 PM to 1:50 PM M in Bolin 105 

William Scott Meddaugh (view Profile)


Fundamentals of Geophysics - Lowrie

Course Objectives

This course provides a thorough introduction to solid Earth geophysics and exploration geophysics.  Includes the theory and application of various geophysical methods including seismic, gravity, electrical, and magnetic methods to understanding the shallow and deep  structure of the Earth and integration of geophysical data with laboratory data including high pressures and high temperature mineralogical studies.  The practical application of geophysical techniques to oil and gas exploration, mineral deposit exploration, and environmental assessment are also presented.  Laboratory sessions focus on data acquisition planning, processing and particularly on practical interpretation of geophysical data for resource and environmental assessment.  Course may include a half or full day field trip to gather a geophysical data set for processing and interpretation.


Students will learn:

  1. The Earth is a dynamic planet and the Earth’s temporal and spatial dynamics are best understood within the framework of plate tectonics
  2. The essential aspects of elastic theory and seismic waves that enables seismic data to be used to characterize the shallow (crustal) and deep structure of the Earth.
  3. How seismic data is used to characterize ground movement caused by earthquakes
  4. How seismic, gravity, thermal,  and rheological data together with high temperature and pressure mineralogical  laboratory studies augment seismic characterization of the Earth’s shallow and deep structure
  5. The physics of magnetism and its application to Earth materials including rock magnetism (local), geomagnetism (global), and paleomagnetism (historical)
  6. The application of  paleomagnetic data to basic geological studies particularly sedimentology and stratigraphy including case histories
  7. How geophysical methods are used for oil and gas exploration and development from basin-wide appraisal to drilling individual wells
  8. Details about how seismic data is acquired and interpreted in the oil and gas industry for reservoir characterization and monitoring including 2D, 3D, and 4D reflection-based seismic methods, vertical seismic profiling (VSP),  and active/passive surface and down-hole micro-seismic methods
  9. How geophysical methods are used for mineral deposit exploration and development
  10. How geophysical methods are used for geothermal resource appraisal and development
  11. How geophysical methods are used for environmental assessment and monitoring

Submission Format Policy

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy

See section on Grading Standards for details on late exam, late paper, late homework policy and penalties.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Attendance at all Lectures and Lab Sessions is expected.  If you cannot attend a lecture please notify Dr. Meddaugh by email.  If you cannot attend a lab session, please notify Dr. Meddaugh by email.  Students with three or more unexcused lecture and/or lab absences may be dropped from the course.

Other Policies

Students are expected to fully and completely abide by the University Honor Creed.  Attendance at all Lectures and Lab Sessions is expected.   

All electronic devices must be switched off (or remain unused in silent mode) during lectures and labs unless permission for their use is obtained in advance.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at