Geophysics 270: Introduction to Geophysics

Fall 2012 semester


Instructor: Dr. Steve Gao, professor of geophysics

E-mail:; Phone: (573)-341-6676;

Office: B-35 McNutt Hall.


Teaching Assistant: Cory Reed ( Office: B40 McNutt. Office hour: Tue. & Thu. 11:00 am to 1:00 PM


Meeting time/place: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30-10:45, McNutt 216

Textbook: Whole Earth Geophysics by Robert Lillie


Course objectives:






Grading scheme:


3-5 homework assignments: 30%

Mid-term exam: 20%

Final exam (comprehensive): 40%

Attendance and participation in discussion: 10%


Scales for Grade Assignment:   

A: 90 – 100%       B: 80 – 89% C: 70 – 79% D: 60 – 69% F: 0-59%


Class Policies:


1. Each time you missed a class without getting the instructor’s pre-approval, you will lose one (out of a maximum of 10) of the “Attendance and participation” points.


2. In order to make up a missed exam, you need to notify the instructor about your absence before the exam. In addition, you need to present the instructor with sufficient evidence to justify your absence.


3. Late works will not be accepted, unless you get the approval from the instructor before the deadline.


4. Assignments must be completed independently. While discussions and collaborations during class time are encouraged, homework and examination problems must be solved independently. Plagiarism in any assignment is strictly prohibited.  A score of zero will be given to all involved parties, and the incidence will be reported to related offices for investigation and punishments.


5. Concerns/issues related to a grade must be raised within a week after the grade was posted.





Week 1: Chapter 1: Introduction


Week 2: Chapter 2: Plate Tectonics


Week 3: Chapter 3: Seismic Waves


Week 4: Chapter 4: Seismic Refraction Interpretation


Weeks 5 & 6: Chapter 5: Seismic Reflection: Acquisition, Processing, and Waveform Analysis


 Midterm exam


Week 7: Chapter 6: Structural and Tectonic Interpretation of Seismic Reflection Profiles


Weeks 8 and 9: Chapter 7: Earthquake Seismology


Weeks 10 & 11: Chapter 8: Gravity and Isostasy


Week 12: Chapter 9: Magnetic Interpretation


Week 13: Chapter 10: Heat Flow


Week 14: Thanksgiving Holiday (no classes)


Weeks 15 & 16: Current research topics in geophysics; review for final exam;             Buffer time


Week 17: Finals week