Geophysics: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Geophysics, a major discipline of the Earth sciences and a subdiscipline of physics, is the study of the whole Earth by the quantitative observation of its physical properties. Geophysical data are used in academics to observe tectonic plate motions, study the internal structure of the Earth, supplement data provided by geologic maps, and to nondestructively observe shallow deposits. Geophysical survey data are used to analyze potential petroleum reservoirs and mineral deposits, to locate groundwater, to locate archaeological finds, to find the thicknesses of glaciers and soils, and for environmental remediation. The theories and techniques of geophysics are employed extensively in the planetary sciences in general.


Fields and related disciplines



  • Geodesy,[1] measurement of the Earth: GPS, vertical and horizontal motions of the Earth's surface, navigation, the study of the Earth's gravitational field, and the size and form of the Earth
  • The study of large-scale motions of the Earth's surface and interior, including:
  • Tectonophysics, the study of the physical processes that cause and result from plate tectonics
  • Geodynamics, the study of modes of transport deformation within the Earth: rock deformation, mantle flow and convection, heat flow, lithosphere dynamics
  • Seismology, the study of earthquakes and the propagation of elastic waves through the Earth
  • Most of our knowledge of the Structure of the Earth is derived from seismology
  • Shallow seismology is used in exploration geophysics (to find oil and gas) and for environmental characterization of the subsurface

Related Disciplines

History of geophysics

The development of geophysics has been motivated by many theoretical and practical issues.

The term of geophysics was probably first used in Germany, where it appeared in scientific writings of the mid-19th century. The word geophysics was first used by Fröbel[4][5] as "geophysik" in 1834.

See also


  1. ^ Torge W., Geodesy, Walter de Gruyter Co., 3rd Edition, (2001).
  2. ^ Yang X.S., Introductory Mathematics for Earth Scientists, Dunedin Academic Press, (2009).
  3. ^ Chemin, J. Y. et al, Mathematical Geophysics, Oxford University Press, (2006).
  4. ^ Buntebarth, G. (1981) "Zur Entwicklung des Begriffes Geophysik", Abhandlungen der Braunschwiegischen Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft 32, 95-109
  5. ^ Beck, H. (1961) Alexander von Humboldt, 2 Vols (Wiesbaden: Steiner)

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