Physical Properties of Rocks

5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1GE053

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, 8 February 2024
Responsible department
Department of Earth Sciences

Entry requirements

120 credits including (1) 75 credits in physics and mathematics or (2) 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,
  • describe how the Earth's physical properties vary with scale length and depth,
  • determine appropriate tools and methods for calculating physical properties of rocks,
  • carry out laboratory measurements of rock density, seismic velocity, magnetic susceptibility, and conductivity,
  • carry out basic tensor calculations including coordinate transformations,
  • interpret geophysical field observations and evaluate geological or hydrological target structures which are of relevance to societal needs in energy production, food supply and sustainable raw material production, using physical rock properties.


Tensor calculations including rotation matrices, eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Porosity, density, and permeability and Darcy's law. Theory of elasticity. 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. Magnetic susceptibility and remanence. Diamagnetism, paramagnetism and ferromagnetism. Effect of pressure and temperature on magnetic properties. Electrical resistivity and conductivity, Archie's law. Thermal conductivity, diffusivity, specific heat and radioactive heat production. Heat budget of the Earth. Physical properties in and around geothermal reservoirs, fresh-water aquifers and mineral deposits. Digital rock physics. Laboratory  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.

Other directives

1MP018 and 1GE053 cannot be included in the same degree.