EM GeoSci


To facilitate the understanding and use of electromagnetics in solving exploration, geotechnical and environmental problems.


Why EM GeoSci

Electromagnetics has not yet reached its full potential for solving problems in the geosciences. However that is changing and today the combination of better field systems and high quality data, advances in scientific computing, and the exponential increase in computer power allows us to solve problems that were not possible a few years ago. It is becoming more common-place to acquire laboratory or in-situ measurements of physical properties and these are essential links in tying the geophysics to questions about the earth. The other advance is the open-source technology allow technical material and ideas to be generated by multiple contributors through sources like Github . Cloud-based computing environments and open source software have also opened up portals for interacting with equations and concepts in real time as material is being read. The goal of EM GeoSci is to blend these items as seamlessly as possible and provide a learning environment in which geoscientists with various backgrounds and expertise can connect with the application of electromagnetics in their field of study. Having a resource that allows participants to answer many different questions connected with electromagnetics will enhance efficiency of research and applications. Moreover, this resource provides an explicit repository for knowledge that has been acquired by practising geoscientists and, when made available, can elevate the learning and responsible use of electromagnetics throughout the communinity.

What is EM GeoSci?

The emphasis is on physical principles of electromagnetic methods and their application in solving problems. Rigorous analytic solutions of the EM problems with specific transmitting fields and earth models is left to existing books and research papers. Also, the resource does not concentrate upon the scientific computing aspects to numerically solve Maxwell’s equations. We do however, make much use of software that can perform those functions. Rather, our emphasis is on using analytic and numerical solutions to understand electromagnetic fields and fluxes obtained from various types of transmitters in different geological environments.

Our emphasis is on fundamentals and applications and correspondingly Case Histories play an essential role. These provide the motivation for using electromagnetics and show the success, or not, of their application in making an impact upon the problem at hand.

Examples are available through Jupyter Notebooks and can be run through Binders. The simulations use the open-source Simulation and Parameter Estimation package SimPEG.


This resource is Open Source and while currently being led by brilliant and enthusiastic graduate students and faculty at UBC, the vision is to have experts, worldwide, contribute. Join the development on Github or get in touch!

EM GeoSci is under construction

EM GeoSci is under active construction. We are working to fill in blank pages and address todo’s. Our goal is to have a mature version available by the end of 2017. In the meantime, we are making this resource available and inviting contributions for case histories. We welcome feedback about the useability of the site and the technical details.

How is it organized?

The motivation for the structure of em.geosci follows from Basic Electromagnetic Experiments. The goal is to identify topics that are logically self-contained and then use links to connect them. At the large scale we have the following items.

  • Introduction:
    • Provides motivational examples, outlines the site, takes care of housekeeping items like notation

  • Physical Properties:
    • Is the “go-to” location for information about what the properties are, how they are measured, typical values etc.

  • Maxwell I: Fundamentals:
    • This contains a summary and background about the formative laws that are the basis for Maxwell’s equations as well as an introduction to general topics that and not survey specific. (eg the basic equations in the frequency and time domain, interface conditions, concepts of fields and fluxes, plane waves in homogeous media, fields from electric and magnetic dipoles etc. )

  • Maxwell II: Static:
    • This section pertains to the understanding the steady-state Maxwell’s and its applications. Foundations for DC resistivity (DCR); Magnetometric resistivity (MMR), and magnetic surveys are found here.

  • Maxwell III: FDEM:
    • This section pertains to understanding Maxwell’s equations in the frequency domain. Foundations for galvanic, inductive and natural source surveys in frequency are presented.

  • Maxwell IV: TDEM:
    • This section pertains to understanding Maxwell’s equations in the time domain.

  • Geophysical Surveys:
    • Self-contained folders for individual geophysical surveys are provided. For example DCR provides a comprehensive overview about the DC resistivity survey as well as links to case histories. Each Survey is linked to relevant sections in other portions of em.geosci so that comprehensive knowledge can be accessed.

  • Inversion:
    • This provides basic tutorial information about inversion that is applicable to all em surveys.

  • Case Histories:
    • These form the cornerstones of our site. They motivate the use of EM geophysics and they also dictate what material needs to be developed in the background sections. Each case history is presented with a Seven-Step Framework.