Geophysics is a discipline that uses non-invasive tools to map lateral and vertical variations of a physical property (seismic velocity, density, electric resistivity). These properties are remotely sensed and aim to describe a site analyzing the geology, groundwater, contamination, or looking for human artifacts beneath the Earth’s surface. Many of these technologies are traditionally used for exploration of economic materials such as groundwater, metals, or hydrocarbons.
Following this definition geophysical studies are used to determine what is directly below the surface (the upper meter or so in archeological applications); other investigations extend to depths of 10’s of meters (geotechnical, environmental and engineering); hundreds of meters (mining) or even several kilometers (hydrocarbon exploration).
Some of the most common fields where geophysical applications are routinely applied are:
- Civil Engineering (roads, bridges, tunnels, harbors).
- Mining (deposit evaluation).
- Environmental (groundwater, landfills, plume contamination).
- Archaeology (site characterization).
- Geological hazards (landslides, karst, erosion).
- Energy (dams, nuclear power plants, windfarms, reservoir mapping).