28121 - Geophysics of Environmental Risks

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

During the course, students learn to use some geophysical techniques useful to study environmental problems, in particular ground penetrating radar and resistivity methods.
At the end of the course, the students know the methodologies to evaluate the seismic risk for a certain area, and to elaborate a plan for the prevention and mitigation of seismic disaster.

Course contents

Introduction: environmental problems amenable to solution by geophysical means.

Resistivity surveys: electrical resistivity of earth material, theory of current flow in the ground, field procedures and selection of electrode array, instruments, interpretation of resistivity data, environmental applications.

Ground penetrating radar: basic principle, data acquisition and processing, determination of radar velocities, environmental applications.

The seismic risk: the earthquake, the plate tectonics, the seismicity in Italy, the seismic hazard estimates, the fake news, the scientific citizenship.


J. M. Reynolds, An Introduction to Applied and Environmental Geophysics (2nd Edition), Wiley, 2011.

H. R. Burger, A. F. Sheehan, C. H. Jones, Introduction to Applied Geophysics: Exploring The Shallow Subsurface, W. W. Norton & Co. Inc., 2006.

A. Udías, E. Buforn, Principles of Seismology, 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Teaching methods

Lectures, educational movies, working groups, field and computer labs.

Assessment methods

Oral exam consists of the presentation and the discussion of laboratory works and field measurements. The presentation should include suggestion of best practices, strategies, guidelines to prevent and mitigate environmental disaster.
The presentation will be judged on the basis of fluency, appropriate vocabulary use, organization and structure of the material presented, content/information, and comprehension.

Office hours

See the website of Antonello Piombo