Practical Geophysics Short Course

On September 27 and 28, Ahmed Ismail, Tim Larson, Tim Young, and Chris Stohr presented a well-received 2-day geophysics short course, titled “Practical Geophysics for Engineering, Archaeology, and Hydrogeology,” at the Hilton Garden Inn, Champaign, Illinois. The short course explained the theory and application of five different geophysical methods and included a half day of field demonstrations. Twenty-six participants from industry, government, and academia attended. Each participant was awarded a continuing education certificate from the University of Illinois totaling 1.29 CEUs.

Geologist holding and explaining equipment

Ahmed Ismail contributed presentations on seismic methods, Tim Larson taught resistivity and ground penetrating radar, and Tim Young introduced downhole logging methods. Chris Stohr served as MC, and his knowledge of the engineering community (a primary target audience) was a valuable asset in developing the short course. The event was planned, organized, and supported entirely by ISGS staff. The field demonstration was held at ISGS facilities on the University of Illinois south campus.

The applied geophysics program at the ISGS is more than 80 years old, and the presenters have more than six decades of combined personal experience in practical geophysics. The course was an effective way to share this knowledge and technology with colleagues in related professions who may need to apply these techniques in their own work.

Geology short course group photo

Shallow surface geophysical methods provide subsurface information and are mostly noninvasive, an important asset to many engineering and archaeological investigations. When drill holes are necessary, downhole geophysical tools maximize the investment in time and money by providing continuous records of subsurface properties, many of the same properties that are measured by surface methods. When combined, surface and borehole methods provide a cost-effective and accurate evaluation of physical properties of the subsurface.

Recognizing that geophysical methods are increasingly used by professionals in related disciplines, the ISGS staff developed this short course as a way to introduce the methods with both theoretical and hands-on practical approaches. The goal was to create knowledgeable users of geophysical methods who will have a better understanding of the capabilities (and limitations) of geophysics.

Based on the success of this short course, the ISGS plans to repeat it in the future.