Small-scale geophysical experiments

Developing lab-scale ERT, magnetics and other surveys

Thesis details
Small-scale geophysical experiments
  • 3 months
  • B.Sc.
  • 90% Programming
  • 80% Field work
  • 10% Lab work
  • 60% Theory
  • 70% Processing
  • 60% Interpretation
  • 50% Geology
Contact person
Marc S. Boxberg's profile picture's profile picture
Dr. rer. nat.
Marc S. Boxberg
Postdoctoral researcher and deputy director
+49 241 / 80 99755

Geophysical surveys are usually done in the field. However, to demonstrate how they work, e.g., in public outreach or teaching, we need small laboratory-scale experiments. We have an AR-sandbox (Wellmann et al., 2022) in our lab that can be leveraged for such experiments. Several geophysical methods seem to be suited for this work. Small-scale ERT could be performed in the sand using small electrodes and a multimeter. Tiny magnetometers could be build using fluxgate sensors to perform magnetic surveys in the sand. If the experiment quality and the resulting data quality is high enough, this setup may also be used to obtain real-world synthetic data to be used in the ongoing research of the group, e.g., on geophysical inverse methods.

This project can be split into several theses.

Your tasks:

Your primary task would be to setup the experiment for one of the common methods in applied geophysics. This includes the selection of appropriate hardware and materials as well as some programming to process and visualize the results of the measurements.

Supplementary Documents

  • Open AR-Sandbox: A haptic interface for geoscience education and outreach

    2022 | Wellmann, F., Virgo, S., Escallon, D., de la Varga, M., Jüstel, A., Wagner, F. M., Kowalski, J., Zhao, H., Fehling, R., Chen, Q.

    Geosphere, doi:10.1130/ges02455.1

    RWTH Publications PDF


    Virtual reality concepts have been widely adapted to teach geoscientific content, most notably in virtual field trips ­ with increased developments due to recent travel restrictions and challenges of field access. On the spectrum between real and fully virtual environments are also combinations of digital and real content in mixed-reality environments. In this category, augmented-reality (AR) sandboxes have been used as a valuable tool for science outreach and teaching due to their intuitive and haptic interaction-enhancing operation. Most of the common AR-sandboxes are limited to the visualization of topography with contour lines and colors, as well as water simulations on the digital terrain surface. We show here how we can get beyond this limitation, through an open-source implementation of an AR-sandbox system with a versatile interface written in the free and cross-platform programming language Python. This implementation allows for creative and novel applications in geosciences education and outreach in general. With a link to a 3-D geomodelling system, we show how we can display geologic subsurface information such as the outcropping lithology, creating an interactive geological map for structural geology classes. The relations of subsurface structures, topography, and outcrop can be explored in a playful and comprehensible way. Additional examples include the visualizations of geophysical fields and the propagation of seismic waves, as well as simulations of Earth surface processes. We further extended the functionality with ArUco-marker detection to enable more precise and flexible interaction with the projected content. In combination, with these developments, we aim to make AR-sandbox systems, with the additional dimension of haptic interactions, accessible to a wider range of geoscientific applications for education and outreach.

    Cite as

    Wellmann, F. and Virgo, S. and Escallon, D. and de la Varga, M. and Jüstel, A. and Wagner, F. M. and Kowalski, J. and Zhao, H. and Fehling, R. and Chen, Q. (2022): Open AR-Sandbox: A haptic interface for geoscience education and outreach. Geosphere.
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