Syllabus for Physical Properties of Rocks

Bergets fysikaliska egenskaper


  • 5 credits
  • Course code: 1GE053
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Physics A1N, Earth Science A1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
  • Established: 2015-03-12
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2018-08-30
  • Revised by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: week 30, 2019
  • Entry requirements: 120 credits with 75 credits in physics and mathematics, or with 75 credits in earth science, 15 credits in physics and 15 credits in mathematics. English language proficiency that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6").
  • Responsible department: Department of Earth Sciences

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Derive and use relationships between different physical rock properties
  • Determine appropriate tools and methods for calculating physical properties of rocks.
  • Carry out laboratory and field measurements of rock density, seismic velocities, magnetic susceptibility, and conductivity
  • Interpret geophysical field observations (e.g., a seismic section) and provide possible explanations for the features observed.
  • Derive synthetic forward models (e.g., synthetic seismograms from borehole sonic and density data).
  • Describe scale-dependence of physical properties and their variations in the Earth's crust and below.


Porosity, density, and permeability, Darcy's law, elasticity, fourth rank stiffness and compliance tensors. Relationships between porosity and seismic velocity. Seismic properties of rocks and rock-forming minerals. Attenuation, anisotropy, dispersion, and shear-wave splitting. Dynamic and static properties of rocks. Diamagnetism, paramagnetism, and ferromagnetism. Magnetic susceptibility and remanence. Effect of pressure and temperature on magnetic properties. Electrical resistivity and conductivity, Archie's law. Thermal conductivity, specific heat, and radioactive heat production. Heat budget of the Earth. In-situ and downhole physical property measurements.


Lectures, homework, problem solving, computer exercises, lab and field measurements, seminar.


Written examination (2 credits), homework assignments (1 credit), computer projects (1 credit), and written report (1 credit).

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 30, 2019

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • Course Notes

    Institutionen för geovetenskaper,

    Will be provided during the course.

  • Mavko, Gary; Mukerji, Tapan; Dvorkin, Jack The rock physics handbook : tools for seismic analysis in porous media

    Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1998

    Find in the library