Electromagnetic Geophysics

10 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1GE057

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Earth Science A1F, Physics A1F
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 10 March 2016
Responsible department
Department of Earth Sciences

Entry requirements

180 credits including 80 credits in physics and mathematics, including The Earth's Potential Fields, 5 credits.

Learning outcomes

After completing the course the student is expected to be able to :

  • Derive the differential equations governing electromagnetic induction in the Earth starting from Maxwell's equations.
  • Derive electromagnetic fields and their potentials owing to controlled (galvanic and inductive) and natural sources over a stratified Earth.
  • Develop least squares estimates of transfer functions from experimental time-series data.
  • Describe and apply the fundamental properties of the impedance tensor and other transfer functions for plane waves over an Earth of arbitrary dimension accounting for galvanic distortion.
  • Explain the principles of numerical models like finite-difference and integral equation methods to solve forward problems in 2D and 3D.
  • Explain how model sensitivities can be calculated using the reciprocity theorem.
  • Make recommendations as what technique is best suited for solving a given electromagnetic problem with respect to depth penetration and resolution.


Introduction Maxwell’s equations. Reflection and refraction of plane waves. Potentials of electric and magnetic fields. Sources in unbounded media. Finite sources: magnetic and electric dipoles. Time series analysis. Least squares and robust least squares estimates. Electromagnetic transfer functions. Distortion of electromagnetic fields. Numerical modelling: integral equations and finite differences. Computation of sensitivities. Geoelectric methods.


Lectures, home work assignments, problem solution and computer exercises.


Written examination (8 credits), homework assignments (1 credit), and oral presentation (1 credit).