An introduction to applied and environmental geophysics

Instructor(s): John Reynolds
Date: Nov. 9 - 10, 2021
Duration: 2 half-days
Time: 8:00am – 12:00pm each day

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Course Description

The course will include but will not be limited to the following topics:

Part One:

Session 1: An introduction to Applied and Environmental Geophysics:

  • The role of these techniques in near-surface investigations
  • Benefits to be gained through using these methods
  • Matching geophysical methods to applications and sites
  • Planning a geophysical survey and describing who does what and when
  • Survey constraints and limitations
  • Geophysical survey design
  • Considerations as to the analysis and interpretation of geophysical data.

Session 2: An introduction to the various techniques:

  • Micro-gravity
  • Geomagnetics
  • Seismic techniques (e.g., reflection, refraction, MASW)
  • Electrical techniques (resistivity, IP, SP)
  • Electro-Magnetic techniques – Frequency-domain EM (FEM) and Time-domain EM (TEM)
  • Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)
  • Modes of deployment (airborne, over water*, ground-based) *[non-marine].

Part Two:

Session 3: Engineering applications based on case histories:

  • Cavity detection
  • Buried structures
  • Landslides and weak ground
  • Mine workings/adits/shafts
  • Bridge foundations studies
  • Lithology and geological structures
  • Backfilled quarries.

Session 4: Environmental applications based on case histories:

  • Landfills
  • Leachate detection and mapping
  • Contamination mapping
  • Hydrogeological studies
  • Brownfield sites
  • UneXploded Ordnance detection
  • Acid tar lagoons
  • Animal burrows

Target Audience

The course would be ideal for professional civil and geotechnical engineers, project managers, professionals involved in shallow (<50 m) ground investigations, seeking to gain an initial overview of what these applied environmental geophysics techniques can provide and how the results can be used to aid optimisation of ground models for shallow engineering applications, including hydrogeological aspects. This will help them understand the benefits of using such techniques and how they complement other, intrusive, methods of site investigation.


Prof. John M. Reynolds holds a BSc in Geological Geophysics (Reading University, UK) and a PhD in Glacio-geophysics (Reading University and British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK).  He was a Glacio-Geophysicist at the British Antarctic Survey (Cambridge), lectured in Applied and Environmental Geophysics at Plymouth Polytechnic (now Plymouth University, UK), and has owned and led his own geological and geophysical consultancy company in Mold, NE Wales, UK, since 1994.  He was appointed as an Honorary Professor at Aberystwyth University, Wales, in 2005, 2010, 2015, and in 2021.  He is currently Managing Director of his specialist geophysical consultancy company Reynolds International Ltd, UK.  He is perhaps best known internationally for his acclaimed textbook “An introduction to Applied Geophysics” (John Wiley & Sons, 1997, 2011).  He has contributed to many international conferences, authored around 100 technical papers, and delivered multiple technical training courses for a variety of UK universities at under-graduate and post-graduate level, has supervised several successful PhDs in applied geophysics, and been an MSc and PhD examiner for three UK universities. He has undertaken near-surface geophysical surveys in Antarctica, South America, UK, Europe (including Sub-Arctic Norway), West Africa and the Middle East, and S. Central Asia.  His work over the last 40+ years has encompassed archaeological, hydrogeological, geological, glaciological, environmental, and engineering applications from small domestic scale investigations through to major infrastructure projects (roads, airports, tunnels, hydropower dams, nuclear facilities, etc.) and environmental studies (acid tar lagoons, landfills, contaminated land, brownfield sites, etc.).