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Field Geophysics

Geophysics data acquisition, processing and interpretation

Session: July 9 - July 20 (in Idaho)

Register for:
GLY 4947 Geophysics Field School (2 credit)

Dr. Rocco Malservisi
Dr. Jochen Braunmiller

Where: The field class will take place in the valley west of the Lost River Range in Idaho, north of the city of Mackay. We will stay at the King Ranch in Lost River Valley.

When: The class begins when we meet as a group at 8:00 am on the first day of the course at the Airport Inn Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah. The class ends at the airport in Salt Lake City around 5:00 pm on the last day of the course.

The Airport Inn Hotel
2333 W. North Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84116

DO NOT purchase a return flight departing earlier than 7:00 pm on the last day of the session.

If driving, no car storage is available. You will need to make arrangements to leave your car in a long-term parking lot at the airport or at a hotel.

Why: Having hands-on experience with a variety of geophysical techniques will allow you to understand the usefulness and limitations of each technique in any geological investigation in your geology career. The goal of the Field Geophysics class is to introduce you to some (but not all) of the following methods in geophysical exploration: gravity, magnetic, seismic, resistivity, and ground penetrating radar. You will learn the basic theory of each method, and how to use geophysical instruments and GPS systems, construct a survey, acquire data, process data, and interpret geophysical data in the context of geological observations and by comparison with various geophysical methods. Our targets are strands of the Borah Peak Fault on the eastern side of the Big Lost River Valley, and contacts between volcanic rock and limestone and sediments in the valleys west of the Lost River Range.

What to expect: Daytime field data acquisition will be physically demanding. Mini-lectures, data downloading and processing will occur in the evenings, so work days are long. The experience is intense, but should prove intensely valuable in the long run.

You can expect temperatures between 30° and 80° F. Conditions can be rainy and windy. Restroom facilities will not be available during much of the day. Some of the field work will involve extensive walking up and down steep slopes and carrying the geophysical equipment. This is a high desert and mountain environment. Hazards include sagebrush (thorns), snakes, exposure to wind, sun, rain, and possibly hail.

What you will need:

  • Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad
  • Towel
  • Headlamp or flashlight or both
  • Clothing for hot and cold weather
  • Hat, water bottle or camelbak, sunglasses, lip balm and sunscreen
  • Good rain gear - pants and jacket
  • Extra shoes or sandals for evenings
  • Day pack to carry gear
  • Field notebook
  • Hammer
  • Pencils, eraser, colored pencils, ruler, protractor & calculator
  • Handheld GPS (if you already have one)
  • Laptop computer
  • USB jump drive, at least 4 gigs


Grades will be based on your participation in the field, field notes, written reports and possibly oral exams


Please direct logistics questions to Danny Lindsay and course content questions to Dr. Rocco Malservisi or Dr. Jochen Braunmiller.