Leeds University Library

Main Reading List

Fundamentals of Geophysics, 2017/18, Semester 1
Dr Jessica Hawthorne
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

Unfortunately, ‘exploration’ geophysics evolved separately from ‘global’ geophysics - same principles, many shared methods, different jargon. That means there isn’t a single textbook that covers everything.

  The books listed below have been recommended to libraries. If you have trouble getting hold of them, ask the library. The subject specialist is Sara Thornes . They do respond to demand for extra copies, if people ask !

The clear best choice at Level 1 is

Mussett, A.E. & Khan, M.A. "Looking into the earth : an introduction to geological geophysics" (CUP)

  • does more than most to cover exploration and global
  • is deliberately targeted at a non-geophysicist reader
  • is credibly up-to-date

1GP and those expecting to do 2 nd or 3 rd   year geophysics modules could pick from many more advanced and detailed books. I’d advise Fowler , plus Kearey et al . or Reynolds .

Fowler, C.M.R. "The solid earth : an introduction to global geophysics" (2nd Edition) (CUP).
Also covers exploration and global, tries to keep maths separate

  Kearey, P., & Brooks, M., & Hill, I. An introduction to geophysical exploration.” (Blackwell).
Extremely well presented, good coverage of hydrocarbon (oil & gas) and mineral exploration.

  Lay,T., & Wallace, T.C. , 'Modern global seismology'. (Academic Press)
Starts from basics and goes to very advanced, but just on the seismics.

  Lowrie,W ., 'Fundamentals of geophysics'. (CUP)
A little more in-depth than Fowler - good for 3rd year too.

  Milsom, J. 'Field geophysics' 2nd edition. (Geol.Soc./OU Press)
Neat & cheap little A5-sized book on the field aspects of geophysics.

  Reynolds, J. An introduction to applied and environmental geophysics” (Wiley).
Good basics, excellent on environmental & engineering topics, a brief nod to oil & gas, less to global.

  Telford ,W.M., Geldart,L.P., & Sheriff,R.E . 'Applied Geophysics.' 2nd edn. ( Cambridge )
Advanced book, on exploration aspects only, suitable up to MSc though begins from basics


Many geology-based students doing geophysics find the mathematics and physics concepts & contents hard work - to handle these.

Breithaupt,J Physics’ (Macmillan)
A broad-based book specifically aimed at the science undergraduate without A-level Physics. Superb layout, figures, worked examples,, real applications, etc.
Recommended for those without A-level Physics .

Waltham , D 'Mathematics : a simple tool for geologists. (Chapman & Hall)
THE book to get if you're unsure or rusty on maths: starts from GCSE level and covers all you'll need with geoscience examples throughout. Recommended for those without A-level Maths .


  Press,F. & Seiver, R Understanding earth’ (Freeman)
Excellent web-based support with materials, self-testing, and so on; beautifully illustrated; a benchmark book.

This list was last updated on 08/08/2008