GEOS3733 – Environmental Geophysics

GEOS3733 – Environmental Geophysics is a 6 unit of credit course is a 5-day fieldclass which from 2019 onwards will be held in week 5 of T3. In recent years, the fieldclass has been based at Wellington Caves, Wombyean Karst Conservation Researve, and Yarrangobilly, Snowy Mountains. All students will be asked to make their own way to and from the fieldclass (by train or car-sharing). There will be a charge for the course (covering all food and accommodation). Numbers are capped. There are no course prerequisites.

S2 2018. T3 2019

Study level: 

GEOS3733 - Undergraduate

GEOS6733 - Postgraduate

6 units of credit

NB: GEOS3733 and GEOS6733 are identical. Students interested in GEOS6733 can refer to the GEOS3733 handbook and timetable entries.

GEOS3733 Current handbook entry

GEOS3733 Current timetable

2018 Course Outline

Who should I contact?

Coordinator: Andy Baker

What does this course cover?

This course aims to provide skills required in research and consulting environments in hydrology, hydrogeology, climatology and environment sciences.

Each day, you will be given short lectures on the theory behind various environmental geophysical methods used in the analysis of air, water, soil, vegetation or the subsurface. This will be followed by field measurements to enable everyone to get hands-on experience of geophysical techniques. These field sampling campaigns are designed by you, the student groups, strengthening your skills in sampling design, data collection and analysis, and data management.

Methods covered will include a selection of the following environmental geophysical techniques, depending on instrument availability: 

  • weather station design and hydrology measurements using geophysical techniques
  • infra-red measurements of soil and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations
  • x-ray fluorescence analysis of soil mineral properties
  • optical geophysics, using fluorescence and absorbance, to measure river and groundwater organic matter water quality
  • cavity-ringdown and off-axis mass spectrometry measurements for mapping methane and carbon dioxide processes in the landscape

All of the equipment used is research-grade, and on a typical fieldclass we will bring $250k-500k of equipment for you to use.


For more information, see the course outline.

Where does this course fit into my degree?

This course is primarily for 3rd year, honours, and postgraduate levels, although 2nd year students have also taken this course, too.

Is there assumed prior knowledge or a co-requisite?

There are no prerequisites for this course. We have taught biology, geography geology, environmental management, environmental engineering, mining engineering and geotechnical engineering students and postgraduates, as well as external students from other universities.

GEOS2291 - Earth’s Interconnections provide excellent preparation for this course, but it is not a prerequistite.

Are there mandatory activities for this course?

The course is held as a 5-day fieldtrip in T3. The cost of the field trip in 2018 was $44, and reflects the cost of accommodation, and has been higher in previous years where food, travel and accommodation was provided. Plan for a cost of $40 to $300.

Is there anything else I should know?

The course is assessed by a group presentation (held on the fieldclass, and given to local site staff as well as your colleagues and academic staff), and an individual field report (due at the end of T3) and a literature review of one chosen environmental geophysical technique (due before the fieldclass).  The course has produced field reports that have helped guide local managers, and data that as gone on to be published.

More information about this course (for 2018).

Student perspective:

Find out what other students have to say about this course.

I took this course a while ago, and need proof of what was covered.

2017 Course Outline

2017 Course Flier

2016 Course Outline

2016 Course Flier

2015 Course Outline

2015 Course Brochure

2014 Course Outline

2014 Course Brochure

 NB: All information provided on this page is superseded by information provided by the course coordinator or lecturer(s).