Geophysics- physics of Earth- is the study of Earth processes by quantitative integration of its physical properties. Geophysicists use this geophysical data in academics to observe various tectonic plate motions and internal structure of the Earth through a combination of experiments, remote imaging direct observation and computational and theoretical modeling. The theories and techniques involved in geophysics are also used extensively in the field of planetary sciences.
Geophysics is a relatively young science. The term geophysics was used for the first time by Frobel as “geophysik” (1834) in
. It evolved
into a distinct branch only in the 19th century where it appeared in
scientific writings. Discoveries like cosmic rays, the core and mantle of Earth
and seafloor spreading in the 20th century illustrated the
maturation and evolution of geophysical sciences. Germany
Geodesy- is the science concerned with the measurement of size, shape and gravitational field of Earth. This information is used in numerous applications such as civil engineering and navigation.
Seismology- Geophysics is applied in the study of core of the Earth by analyzing seismic waves (elastic waves). Irregularities in the Earth’s core can easily be mapped with the help of supercomputers. Shallow seismology is also used for environmental characterization of the subsurface.
Geomagnetism- Is the study of the Earth’s magnetic field. It is also associated with paleomagnetism (measurement of orientation of magnetic field of the Earth over the geological past).
Mathematical Geophysics- is the use of mathematical methods and techniques for finding solution to geophysical problems.
Geophysical surveying- includes archeological geophysics, exploration and engineering geophysics.
Global Geophysics- Includes the study of earthquakes and volcanoes (volcanology), Earth’s magnetic field, oceanography, glaciology and hydrology (study of water on earth) and atmospheric sciences.
Geological and Geophysical engineering- Includes application of geophysics to engineering designs such as construction of highways, bridges and dams as well as archeological artifacts and unexplored ordinances.
Exploration Geophysics- Includes the study of rocks, minerals and natural resources with the help of shallow seismology (petrophysics and mineralogy).
Generally, a geophysicist works in collaboration with geologists or engineers. Their primary responsibility is to study, explore or construct the environment. For this, geophysicists use various instruments for qualitative analysis of physical properties such as density, radioactivity and magnetic and electric fields. They also find natural resources like oil, natural gas reservoirs and precious metals (gold and silver). Career avenues in geophysics include seismology, climatology, mining geophysics, marine geophysics and petroleum geophysics.
Benefits of Geophysics
The work of a Geophysicist involves numerous equipments and methods that are non-invasive and non-damaging to the environment. Their instruments aid them to study past the surface of the area without destroying or affecting the environment. However, some drilling is required during the process of sampling and exploration.
Keywords- Geophysics, geophysicist, Earth, science