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Research Areas

Geophysics is a subject of the natural sciences, which is concerned with the physical properties of the Earth and the processes that originate them. It deals with the physics of the Earth, including its oceans, atmosphere and immediate space environment. Geophysics uses both observational and quantitative methods to investigate the physical processes that underlie the Earths formation and evolution, using methods applied at all scales from the study of rock forming minerals (principally silicates) through to the entire planetary scale. The Geophysics Section studies the tectonic and dynamic structure of the Earth using the methods of physics combined with the other geosciences – geology, geochemistry, petrology, geochronology and paleoecology. The main areas of research are seismology, electomagnetism, the geodynamics of continents and oceans and potential fields (gravity and magnetism).


This research can be divided into five overlapping broad research themes all of which have theoretical, numerical and observational components. Processes that govern the formation and geological history of Earth are investigated through field studies, geophysical data acquisition and analysis and numerical modeling. Research topics include the formation and evolution of oceanic and continental lithosphere, plate-tectonic reconstructions, sedimentary basin formation, volcanoes, global seismicity and earthquake studies. Many of these have direct application to accessing economic resource potential, for example, in the fields of mineral and hydrocarbon research and geothermal energy potential. The five interlinked themes comprise:

  • Global Geophysical Modelling
  • Global and Local Seismology
  • Marine Geophysics
  • Geophysical Imaging
  • Volcanoes & Earthquakes