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Pre-Conference Workshop | WS05   View all workshops

Why Bother with Geophysics? Adding Value Rather Than Wasting Time

Date: August 26, 2023

Time: 8:00am - 5:00pm

Location: Hilton London Metropole | London, United Kingdom

Presenters: Tim Archer and Susan Webb

Attendee Maximum: 25

20% of spaces are reserved for students and offered at a discounted rate.



A range of geophysical techniques exist for exploring the subsurface. But unless they are properly designed, geophysical surveys often provide inconclusive results and fail to add genuine value to commercial exploration programs. In this workshop and based on more than forty years of academic and industry experience, we investigate why geophysical surveys go wrong, briefly summarize available techniques and state-of-the-art, and demonstrate by means of real-world examples how thoughtful geophysics can greatly enhance technical and commercial project outcomes.

We consider the different approaches employed in seismic, gravity, magnetic and radiometric surveys and what is achievable through each method. Moreover, we will provide details on electrical and electromagnetic surveys and the various subsets, from electrical resistivity and induced polarization to ground penetrating radar. Survey design, data processing and interpretation and machine learning will all be considered, and best practices will be overviewed.

Attendees will receive certificates of participation. View all workshops.

About the Presenters


Tim Archer

Reid Geophysics

Tim Archer has worked as a commercial geophysicist for more than twenty-five years. He holds an Honours Degree in Geophysics from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Management Diploma from the University of Stellenbosch.

Tim worked for Anglo American from 1994 to 2001, mainly with their SPECTREM airborne electromagnetic system. From 2004 to 2014, Tim owned and ran a geophysical contracting business in the UK, specializing in near-surface hazard detection. In 2014, he joined Reid Geophysics, a company which he now owns and manages, as well as providing non-seismic geophysical consultancy to mineral and energy explorers worldwide.

Tim is an active member of EAGE, IAEG, PESGB and SEG. He is also a technical reviewer for Geophysical Prospecting and the Journal of Applied Geophysics.



Susan Webb

University of Witswatersrand

Susan Webb has a passion for creating opportunities. Her curiosity driven research examines fundamental global geophysical problems to developing applied solutions for community challenges. She forged her unique perspective studying for geophysics degrees in three different countries (USA, Canada, and South Africa) and from studying the Earth from its core to near-surface resources with collaborative, international groups and students. Her well-known, innovative work on the Bushveld Complex demonstrates broad connectivity between the Bushveld limbs, has facilitated projects for numerous graduate students and supports the ICDP Bushveld Complex Drilling Project.

Her international board experience mirrors her passions; she was a founding committee member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) Geoscientists without Borders (GWB) that set up the initial policy and procedures for this highly successful international humanitarian program. She has also served on the executive committee of the SEG as second vice president, facilitating changes to the SEG structure and terms of office. Election to the board of directors of the American Geophysical Union as the International Secretary saw her serving for 6 years facilitating an international perspective across all aspects of AGU business. She also invests her time locally, serving on the governing committee of the South African Geophysical Association (SAGA).

She developed the AfricaArray Geophysics field school out of a need for linkages within Africa, the USA and a dire need for practical hands-on training. This program attracts support from international sponsors since formal establishment in 2005. The evolving field school is developing new engagements with industry and encouraging entrepreneurial opportunities. This field school has spawned similar opportunities in Kenya, Cameroon, Ghana and Egypt and enabled many of the participants to progress to better employment opportunities. Long-term links with the participants from the US and within Africa have ensured a widespread international network for South African students to rely on.

Her passion for education was recognized, as she was the inaugural awardee of the SEG's "Outstanding Educator" award, she was also selected as the SEG's Honorary lecturer for Africa and the Middle East, lecturing throughout the region for 6 months and forging new connections with Middle East and African colleagues. She is featured in the 2020 book "Mentoring and Sponsoring: Keys to Success" by Maria Capello and Eve Sprunt. She continues to develop new opportunities for students in conjunction with the African component of the New Generation Explorers Award!

Schedule (Preliminary)

Saturday, August 26

  • 9:00am - 9:30am: Introduction
    • Case studies: When geophysics goes wrong
    • What can we do?
  • 9:30am - 10:30am: Summary of geophysical methods (Part I)
    • Seismic
    • Gravity
    • Magnetic
    • Radiometric
  • 10:30am - 11:00am: Tea break
  • 11:00am - 12:00pm: Summary of geophysical methods (Part II)
    • Electrical
    • Self potential
    • Resistivity
    • Induced polarization
    • Electromagnetic
      • Frequency domain EM
      • Time domain EM
      • Ground penetrating radar
      • Particular technologies to watch
  • 12:00pm - 1:00pm: Lunch
  • 1:00pm – 1:45pm: Survey design
    • Exploration objectives
    • Physical properties
    • Geometrical properties
    • Survey resolution and noise considerations
    • Technical aspirations and commercial realities
  • 1:00pm – 1:45pm: Survey design
    • Exploration objectives
    • Physical properties
    • Geometrical properties
    • Survey resolution and noise considerations
    • Technical aspirations and commercial realities
  • 1:45pm - 2:45pm: Data processing and interpretation
    • Field processing and quality control
    • Advanced processing and quality control
    • Forward and inverse modelling
    • Geophysical interpretation
    • Integrated interpretation
  • 2:45pm - 3:30pm: Machine learning in geophysics
    • The good – best practice and state-of-the-art
    • The bad – technical disasters and people who should know better
    • The ugly – practical constraints to consider
  • 3:30pm - 4:00pm: Tea break
  • 4:00pm - 5:00pm: Pulling it all together
    • What to insist on
    • What to avoid
    • Ways to structure your exploration team
    • Maximizing value
    • The outlook for geophysics
    • Q&A


Early Deadline: June 30, 2023
Regular Deadline: August 11, 2023

  Early Regular
SEG Professional Member US$495 US$495
SEG Student Member US$145 US$145
Non-member US$595 US$595
All prices are in United States dollars (USD). SEG reserves the right to cancel this event should minimum attendance numbers not be met by June 30, 2023. All registrants will be given a full refund should SEG cancel the course. Cancellation policy, event photography, dietary restrictions, and more are detailed in the SEG Conference terms and conditions.