Skip to main content

Module Reading List

Fundamentals of Geophysics, 2021/22, Semester 1
Dr Jon Mound
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 best choice overall is:

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

  • does more than most to cover both exploration and global topics, including most of what we'll see
  • is deliberately designed as an introductory text, suitable for those without much prior knowledge
  • is reasonably up-to-date

Other useful geophysics texts:

Those thinking of doing more geophysics-facing modules could pick from many more advanced and detailed books. The following are likely to be of use throughout the geophysics programme

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

Kearey, P., Brooks, M., & Hill, I. “An introduction to geophysical exploration.” (Blackwell). Extremely well presented, good coverage of resource exploration topics (minerals and hydrocarbons).

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

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.

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

Maths & Physics:

If you think your mathematics and physics are a bit rusty, try: 

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.

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.

General Earth Science including Global Geophysics 

If you think your geological knowledge could use a boost, try:

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

Johnson, C., Affolter, M.D., Inkenbrandt, P., Mosher, C.  An Introduction to Geology ► Is a free on-line textbook pitched at an introductory level; useful for students without prior geology classes.

This list was last updated on 14/07/2021