AG-835 Arctic Seismic Exploration (10 ECTS)






October 15, 2023


February 26, 2024


April 09, 2024


Spring semester (Block 2: Week 9-15)

Seismic fieldwork in Van Mijenfjorden for the course AG-335/835. Photo: Robert Pfau/UNIS.

Grade:Letter grade (A through F)
Course Cost:Fieldwork, NOK 1400 (7 days x NOK 200 per overnight stay)
Course Capacity Min/Max:10/20 students (AG-335/835 in total)
Language of instruction:English
Examination support material:Bilingual dictionary between English and mother tongue

UNIS contact person:

Course requirements

Enrolment in a relevant PhD programme. Students should have basic knowledge of the seismic method.

Academic content

The course gives in-depth knowledge in geophysical exploration on snow, ice, or frozen ground with particular emphasis on seismic surveying, but also includes the basics of geo-radar and electromagnetic surveying and on various physical properties of frozen or partly melted materials characteristic for polar environments.

The structure of the upper crust in polar areas is poorly known. By geophysical exploration we can reveal properties of the upper few kilometres of the earth. The course starts by introducing the basic principles of pressure (P) and shear (S) waves, and how they are utilized in seismic exploration on snow, ice, and floating ice. The similar principles are then presented for geo-radar and electromagnetic surveying. Subsequently the physical properties of porous (partly and fully frozen) sediments and ice is outlined, with emphasis on the effect of the soil temperature. The course focuses on training the students in geophysical data acquisition, processing and interpretation. Finally, specific attention is on the use of the seismic method in monitoring thawing of the Arctic tundra, glacier dynamics and subsurface fluid flow related to CO2 sequestration.

Learning outcome

The students should gain insight in the specific challenges related to seismic exploration in polar environments and how these influence on the seismic analyses.

Learning activities

The course extends over ca 5 weeks including compulsory safety training, and is run in combination with AG-335 Arctic Seismic Exploration (10 ECTS).


  • Total lecture hours: Ca. 35 hours.
  • Total seminar hours: 10 hours.
  • Field exercises: Ca. 1 week.

Compulsory learning activities

All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to sit the exam.

  • Fieldwork
  • Computer exercises
  • Pre-course assignment (to be prepared and presented orally)


  • All assessments must be passed in order to pass the course.
  • Each assessment is graded, and subsequently combined into a single grade. Partial grades for each assessment will be available.
Percentage of final grade
Written report 50%
Written exam4 hours50%

Student life

Seismic exlosion in Van Mijenfjorden Svalbard
Seismic fieldwork in Van Mijenfjorden for the course AG-335/835. Photo: Robert Pfau/UNIS.