GEOL 4714/5714 Field Geophysics Syllabus

Fall 2020

Please note that this syllabus has three parts: the more tradiational material you should know about this course, material related to how a field course is run during a pandemic and the expectations for it, and material provided by campus about campus-wide policies.

Meeting Time: nominally 12:40 - 5:40 PM Tues, Thurs. But see below. Note that this course is quite front-loaded and might be even more this year; we are usually done in October, so this is kind of a 4 credit class for the first half of the semester.

Meeting Place:

Instructor: Prof. Craig Jones, Benson Earth Sciences 440C, (303-49) 2-6994 TA: Kyren Bogolub

Course Objectives: Field geophysical skills will be developed through a combination of lecture and practical field exercises with an emphasis on the latter. Techniques to be covered are those used in resource exploration, environmental studies, engineering, and archaeology, and include: seismic refraction, gravity, magnetics, electrical resistivity, and (if equipment permits) ground penetrating radar. Laboratories will consist of field experiments and computer modeling/interpretation exercises.

General course goals:

Course framework: The course will be dominated by fieldwork that will be concluded by the end of October (ideally, sooner than that). We will be examining relations associated with Quaternary deposits on the South Campus property. Usually field days alternate with lab days.  Usually a lab period will start with a preview of the technique we will use the next field time, then we will discuss the goals of the reduction of the field data and how to use the software to achieve those goals. We will then use computers to conduct our analysis (either in a lab or using personal laptops in a classroom). As noted farther down, this schedule is subject to change depending on pandemic conditions.

Student responsibilities:
  2. Complete reading (and associated quizzes) as assigned
  3. Complete laboratory reports on these field exercises as assigned
  4. Complete written final
  5. Grads (5714) - complete a field final (depending on campus operations)

Absences can only be excused if the instructor is notified and agrees prior to the class in question or by some proof of illness or personal emergency.

Prerequisites: GEOL 2700, MATH 1300, PHYS 1110, or instructor consent. Ideally students should have taken GEOL 3330, but until that requirement is properly listed in the catalog, no previous knowledge of geophysics is assumed.


Introduction to Applied Geophysics, Burger, Sheehan, and Jones. Please note that a new printing was released in summer 2015 with a new version of the software and corrections for a number of typos. Errata sheets are online, as are updaters for the older software.

Supplementary texts:

Field Geophysics, 3rd or 4rth edition, Milsom. Pocket-sized, contains info on many different techniques, but the summaries can be somewhat cryptic. There is an electronic version available through the library, though this rather defeats the purpose of a pocket-sized field reference....

Applied Geophysics, 2nd Edition, Telford, Geldart, and Sheriff (not explicitly ordered at the bookstore). Comprehensive reference guide for the serious geophysicist. There is also an electronic version of this text now...

Grading: Grading for GEOL 4714 (Field Geophysics) will be based upon four major areas. Elaboration on these areas is given below.

1) Data collection - 20%. Attendance and class (field) participation.

2) Field notebook - 10%. A single set of field notes will be prepared for each measurement type being made. Responsibility will be rotated through all students and grading will be for neatness, completeness, clarity and accuracy. (First lab each student has his or her own notes that are turned in). Please check the field notebook guidelines for details.

3) Reading quizzes - 10%. Short quizzes at start of lectures on material derived from reading for that topic.

4) Data reports - 35%. Prepare neat reports which include statement of problem that was investigated, explanation of procedures used, presentation of data, analysis, interpretation. Yes, neatness does count, as does completeness. Please check the lab report guidelines for details.

5) Practical exam - 25%. Written exam over material covered.

Graduate students (GEOL 5714) will also take a field final if conditions permit, which will account for 25% of the grade in GEOL 5714, other aspects reduced proportionally.

The usual disclaimers: As with any course at CU, contact the instructor ASAP if you have conflicts with the course schedule for any reason or need any kind of special accomodation. Details are under Campuswide Policies, below.

Special Coronavirus Information

This is an in-person class. Why? Because here we learn by doing, and that includes being in the field with equipment and facing all the trivial and not-so-trivial issues that arise when actually collecting field measurements. This really cannot be replicated with virtual education. In order to conduct this class under current conditions, there are a number of compromises and special instructions that you should be aware of.

First, I require that you complete the Daily Health Form prior to class meetings in the field as well as class meetings on campus. I will be asking to see that these are completed. And please do not attend if you are feeling ill. If I have enough warning, I will try and get a set of photos or short videos to give you some idea of what we did that day. On days when we are in class or computer lab, remote participation can be acceptable; just let me know ahead of time.

Second, you should arrive in the field as well as in class with a mask. Campus is providing two cloth masks free to all students; you can of course use your own. I will send you home if you lack a mask. We will have wipes and hand sanitizer when in the field. I strongly suggest having a pair of work gloves of your own to bring to the field. This reduces issues with the unlikely occasion of somehow transfering coronoavirus onto equipment and then on to another participant. (Also, our field area has a lot of dog waste and cactus, so solid, closed-toe shoes or boots are a must).

Third, please obey requests to wear your mask. Yes, we are outside and risks are far lower--but not zero. Most of the time we move in and out of proximity to one another and so taking masks off and on is poor practice and risks forgetting when we come close together again. Some times and in some places it might be possible to allow masks off for awhile; please ask if that is possible rather than assuming it is OK. If you have medical reasons why you cannot use a mask, please inform me as soon as possible. If you need a break frmo the mask for a minute or two, please ask and I will let you move away from the rest of the group a suitable distance. Some days will be hot, and you obviously cannot drink water while masked up, so water breaks too should be at some distance (probably about 15'/5m) from other participants.

Fourth, plan ahead for arriving at our field area. By having our field times be later than our official class start time, there should be ample time for you to arrive at South Campus when we are working there (maps are in a separate section of the Canvas site). Do not carpool unless you are already sharing living arrangements.

Should I decide to conduct some classes via Zoom, you can use the computers in the BESC 385 computer lab for our Zoom session. (We might even use Zoom when we all might be in the lab simply because it can be easier to troubleshoot looking at a shared screen while physically apart than me leaning over your shoulder trying to see what you are doing).

Adversity planning. Given how some universities have closed nearly as fast as they opened, it is possible that we may be faced with an unplanned early end of in-person instruction. If this happens in the first month of the term, we will probably have a brief hiatus while the TA and I devise some kind of workaround. Frankly, this would be very unsatisfactory. If we think that the risk of this happening is high, we will adjust our schedule to try and get as much experience with field equipment in as quickly as possible; although this will be a bit confusing at times (we often try to use information from one field experiment to guide the next one), it is far better than not getting that experience at all. So please be flexible and watch your email and the Canvas site for any sudden changes in plans.

Campuswide Policies:

Classroom Behavior

Both students and faculty are responsible for maintaining an appropriate learning environment in all instructional settings, whether in person, remote or online. Those who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation or political philosophy.  For more information, see the policies on classroom behavior and the Student Code of Conduct.

Requirements for COVID-19

As a matter of public health and safety due to the pandemic, all members of the CU Boulder community and all visitors to campus must follow university, department and building requirements, and public health orders in place to reduce the risk of spreading infectious disease. Required safety measures at CU Boulder relevant to the classroom setting include:

Students who fail to adhere to these requirements will be asked to leave class, and students who do not leave class when asked or who refuse to comply with these requirements will be referred to Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. For more information, see the policies on COVID-19 Health and Safety and classroom behavior and the Student Code of Conduct. If you require accommodation because a disability prevents you from fulfilling these safety measures, please see the “Accommodation for Disabilities” statement on this syllabus.
Before returning to campus, all students must complete the COVID-19 Student Health and Expectations Course. Before coming on to campus or joining class in the field each day, all students are required to complete a Daily Health Form.
Students who have tested positive for COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19, or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for or had symptoms of COVID-19 must stay home and complete the Health Questionnaire and Illness Reporting Form remotely. In this class, if you are sick or quarantined, please send an email as soon as possible so that we can both adjust field work responsibilities and try to accomodate your time away from class as much as possible. You do not need to say what the illness or reasons are for quarantine, but if you tell me that you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are having symptoms of COVID-19 or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, I will submit that information to the Medical Services Public Health Office for the purposes of contact tracing ( and/or 303-492-2937).

Accommodation for Disabilities

If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit your accommodation letter from Disability Services to your faculty member in a timely manner so that your needs can be addressed.  Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities in the academic environment.  Information on requesting accommodations is located on the Disability Services website. Contact Disability Services at 303-492-8671 or for further assistance.  If you have a temporary medical condition, see Temporary Medical Conditions on the Disability Services website.

Preferred Student Names and Pronouns

CU Boulder recognizes that students' legal information doesn't always align with how they identify. Students may update their preferred names and pronouns via the student portal; those preferred names and pronouns are listed on instructors' class rosters. In the absence of such updates, the name that appears on the class roster is the student's legal name.

Honor Code

All students enrolled in a University of Colorado Boulder course are responsible for knowing and adhering to the Honor Code. Violations of the policy may include: plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, lying, bribery, threat, unauthorized access to academic materials, clicker fraud, submitting the same or similar work in more than one course without permission from all course instructors involved, and aiding academic dishonesty. All incidents of academic misconduct will be reported to the Honor Code (; 303-492-5550). Students found responsible for violating the academic integrity policy will be subject to nonacademic sanctions from the Honor Code as well as academic sanctions from the faculty member. Additional information regarding the Honor Code academic integrity policy can be found at the Honor Code Office website.

Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination, Harassment and/or Related Retaliation

The University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) is committed to fostering an inclusive and welcoming learning, working, and living environment. CU Boulder will not tolerate acts of sexual misconduct (harassment, exploitation, and assault), intimate partner violence (dating or domestic violence), stalking, or protected-class discrimination or harassment by members of our community. Individuals who believe they have been subject to misconduct or retaliatory actions for reporting a concern should contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) at 303-492-2127 or Information about the OIEC, university policies, anonymous reporting, and the campus resources can be found on the OIEC website.
Please know that faculty and instructors have a responsibility to inform OIEC when made aware of incidents of sexual misconduct, dating and domestic violence, stalking, discrimination, harassment and/or related retaliation, to ensure that individuals impacted receive information about options for reporting and support resources.

Religious Holidays

Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to deal reasonably and fairly with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance.  In this class, you should alert the instructor as soon as possible for any conflicts with any class periods. (For conflicts in November or December, wait until October to see if there will be any need to work around conflicts in that time period; this course is usually complete in October).
See the campus policy regarding religious observances for full details.