Field Geophysics public home page, Fall 2023

Field geophysics uses physical principles to learn about the structure of the earth through measurements made by students. Our goals are to learn the basics of the techniques, what kinds of targets they are good for, how to make field measurements and make simple reductions in the field to see if measurements are likely good, how to interpret the field measurements, and finally how to take advantage of the complementary nature of the different techniques. We will use seismic refraction, reflection, electrical resistivity, ground penetrating radar, gravity, and magnetics in the course.

In 2019 we did work on CU's South Campus land, which we built upon in 2020. In 2022 we returned to Caribou for the first time in ages for all of our field experiments. Which of those we explore in 2023 will depend on enrollment and other logistical concerns.

Course material will be on Canvas ( during the term. The calendar on that site will be updated before this one. This site is to provide a public interface for class materials that might be useful to others.

Meeting Time: Nominally T-Th 12:30 pm, but see below .

The draft 2023 schedule is here, currently to provide some idea of what the 2023 schedule will look like (the Canvas site will be the active site for the class otherwise). Note that this course is very front loaded: we do a lot in the first few weeks, so things are very busy into early-mid October. The schedule is likely to change so check back frequently. You are expected to have read and understood the reading prior to the lecture/lab where they are listed--there are reading quizzes on lecture days when reading is assigned.

Meeting Place:

GEOL4714 is for undergraduate credit.

GEOL5714 is for graduate credit. Usually 5714 is the same as 4714 but the student must complete a field final as well (this is gathering and interpreting data in a single afternoon of the student's choice at a specific field site announced to the student ahead of time).

Course goals:


Readings, including some class handouts, are listed on the schedule page. Textbook is Burger, Sheehan and Jones's Introduction to Applied Geophysics: Exploring the Shallow Subsurface. You will want to take note of the errata page. We are making a new edition of the text and so might share some of the revised text with the class. Milsom's Field Geophysics is a handy field reference. We will be using the software from this in this class. If you are using your own copy, please be sure to update the software as necessary from the updates page. (2015 release should be up to date; in any event, the new software (v2.0 and up) has an internal update mechanism and no longer requires downloading an updater). The text is migrating to a new publisher but their edition won't hit the shelves until the end of October.

Course Information Online (some of this might be dated; more recent material in Canvas)

Field how-tos:

Instructor: Prof. Craig Jones, Benson Earth Sciences 440C


Course goals:

After completing this course, students should be able to

Software ideas:

From time to time you might want to make plots in something other than the software with the text. Most commonly, these would be scatter plots. Note that CU has site licenses and discounts for many software packages. Here are some options for you to consider, roughly in order of increasing cost:

Other resources:

Older stuff of interest

The Caribou Park area was the site of an illegal offroad rally 9/23/00; I've put some photos from 1998 and 2000 together on a special Mudfest page for your amusement.

Please send mail if you encounter any problems or have suggestions.

C. H. Jones | CIRES | Dept. of Geological Sciences | Univ. of Colorado at Boulder

Last modified at Wednesday, August 23, 2023 4:20 PM