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Courses at Boise State University

GEOPH 502 -Geophysical Principles & Properties II
The GEOPH 501/502 sequence is designed to provide a sound understanding of Earth processes, while developing the student’s problem solving skills in mathematical physics. Building on material from GEOPH 501, which focuses on the physical principles that underlie the analysis of geophysical properties and processes, GEOPH 502 focuses on analytical and numerical methods to solve boundary-value problems. Both mathematical and computational techniques will be used to solve problems arising from the governing and constitutive equations of gravitation, electromagnetism, and the mechanics of continuous and porous media. This course will emphasize, unifying mathematical themes, in addition to the important terms in each partial differential equation. Lab sessions will give students experience in applying numerical techniques, which will be compared to analytical solutions developed in the lecture.

GEOPH 697 – Introduction to scientific computing w/ MATLAB
Introduces students to scientific programming as a tool to solve Geoscience-related problems. Students will learn the MATLAB language, including syntax, logic and vectorization, along with MATLAB’s built in matrix computation and manipulation capabilities. We will cover the process of writing and debugging programs, learn basic algorithm development, and become familiar with basic MATLAB capabilities and tools, e.g., parallelization and code analyzer. Students will become familiar with data processing and visualization techniques and develop their ability to solve their own problems in a computational framework.

GEOPH 697 – Archaeological Geophysics
This course is designed to introduce students to the basic processing flows for ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and total-field magnetic data. We will process the data collected in November 2015 at the Idaho State Historical Office. After data processing, we will jointly interpret the magnetic and GPR data sets to determine the location of potential archaeological artifacts below the ground surface.

Teaching in other places

ES 360 – Introduction to Geodynamics (Boston University)
Geodynamics is a broad field concerned with the characterization of the forces acting on the solid Earth (and other planetary bodies) and their effects. At the heart of geodynamics is the application of the principles of physics, chemistry and mathematics to the Earth. The goal of geodynamics, as studied in this course, is to understand the physical processes at work in the Earth’s interior. These processes produce mountains and oceans, volcanoes and earthquakes, and make the Earth an interesting planet. In order to understand these processes, we use methods that sample structures and processes below the surface — generally geophysical methods. It is the dynamics of the solid Earth, along with the geophysical tools needed to explore the interior of the planet, that form the main subject matter of this course. With its emphasis on the quantitative analysis of geological phenomena, this course provides a strong foundation for further study in many areas of the Earth Sciences, including geophysics, tectonics, structural geology, and geophysical fluid dynamics. Knowledge of calculus, college- level physics, and 100-level exposure to geologic principles are assumed. This course is designed for anyone with an appropriate background and interest in the subject, including Earth Sciences majors, physicists, astronomers, and engineers.

Seismic imaging to help understand and manage water quality in coastal Benin, West Africa
(A Geoscientists Without Borders Project)
The coastal city of Cotonou in Bénin, West Africa, with approximately 1.5 – 2.0 million people, is facing a serious threat to the sustainability of its fresh water supply. It relies on the Godomey aquifer for domestic water supply. The aquifer is undergoing saltwater intrusion and this problem is likely to worsen without significant steps to improve management of the pumping system. In this project, seismic reflection is being used to map the primary hydrogeologic units of the Godomey aquifer system. Electrical and electromagnetic methods are used to image the fresh water saltwater contact, and the project team is developing a hydrogeologic model. Results will be shared with the city’s groundwater management agency. During this project a short course on shallow geophysics was taught. Students from the University of Nice, France, Boise State University, USA, and Universite d’Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Benin participated.

The advancement of humanitarian geophysics in Southeast Asia: A student-based approach
(A Geoscientists Without Borders Project)
In January, 2010, Boise State University conducted one of the first Geoscientists Without Borders projects. The intent was to connect geophysicists and students between South East Asia and the North America. Participants included 79 students from 17 institutes representing 11 countries. Undergraduate and graduate students, as well as professionals and faculty, gained hands-on experience with geophysical data acquisition, processing, and interpretation while students produced reports that address local environmental and engineering problems. The field sites selected encompassed groundwater, archaeology and earthquake hazards challenges. Students were introduced to a combination of seismic (reflection, MASW, refraction), ground penetrating radar, electrical, gravity, and magnetic methods that addressed the local geotechnical problems. The ultimate goal was to create a self-sustaining geophysics field program by training faculty and students, and utilizing geophysical equipment that presently exists in Southeast Asia. Students and Faculty from all over Southeast Asia were offered scholarship-based participation in an effort to impact the entire region. A strong participation by the Boise State University SEG Chapter and SEG Chapters throughout Southeast Asia strengthened ties between universities and encouraged other institutions to initiate SEG student chapters.

Ambient Seismic Noise Tomography and Monitoring (Temuco, Chile)
This course was designed to introduce seismologists at OVDAS to the broad range of noise based seismology applications. This course covered the generation of Earth’s ambient seismic field, ambient noise processing and correlation strategies, Rayleigh wave tomography with noise correlations, and coda-wave interferometry for monitoring subsurface changes through time.

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