Skip to main content
Select Source:

geophysics

geophysics, study of the structure, composition, and dynamic changes of the earth, its atmosphere, hydrosphere and magnetosphere, based on the principles of physics. The term was probably first used in Germany, where it appeared in scientific writings of the mid-19th cent. Geophysics, which embraces the concepts, data, and methods of various other sciences, is very broad in scope. For example, geology, meteorology, hydrology, oceanography, and seismology all enter into geophysical studies, with many of them overlapping (e.g., meteorology and oceanography in the study of possible global warming). Most techniques for locating subsurface petroleum, mineral deposits, and water supplies are reliant upon applied geophysics, including the use of seismic and electrical measurements at shallow depths and gravimetric, magnetic, and radiometric surveys at ground stations and in airplanes. Information is then correlated with visible surface features, subsurface conditions are inferred, and boreholes are drilled to determine the extent and richness of promising areas. Geophysics also is used to understand the interactions of the atmosphere and hydrosphere, including how certain anomalies in the ocean's circulation affect the atmosphere. Magnetosphere studies in geophysics concentrate on the magnetic field around the earth. Other geophysical studies are more specific, i.e. selenophysics, or the physics of the moon. Recent flyby spacecraft have accumulated extensive physical data, allowing geophysicists to theorize, by analogy to geophysical earth studies, about the underlying structures, atmospheres, and magnetospheres of other planets and satellites in the solar system.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"geophysics." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"geophysics." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 24, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/geophysics

"geophysics." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/geophysics

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

geophysics

ge·o·phys·ics / ˌjēōˈfiziks/ • pl. n. [treated as sing.] the physics of the earth. DERIVATIVES: ge·o·phys·i·cal / -ˈfizikəl/ adj. ge·o·phys·i·cist / -ˈfizisist/ n.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"geophysics." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"geophysics." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 24, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/geophysics

"geophysics." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved February 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/geophysics

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

geophysics

geophysics Study of the characteristic physical properties of the Earth as a whole system. It uses parts of chemistry, geology, astronomy, seismology, meteorology, and many other disciplines. From the study of seismic waves, geophysicists deduced the Earth's interior structure.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"geophysics." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"geophysics." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 24, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/geophysics

"geophysics." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved February 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/geophysics

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

geophysics

geophysics The science concerned with all aspects of the physical properties and processes of the Earth and planetary bodies and their interpretation, including, for example, seismology, gravity, magnetism, heat flow, and geochronology.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"geophysics." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"geophysics." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 24, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/geophysics

"geophysics." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Retrieved February 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/geophysics

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.