Physical Properties of Rocks

5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1GE053

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Earth Science A1N, Physics A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 30 August 2018
Responsible department
Department of Earth Sciences

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. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

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.