Research groups at the Department of Geophysics are engaged in solving basic, research-scientific and applied geophysical problems. Generally, the area of interest covers problems of applied geophysics in prospecting, mining, engineering, and environmental applications. The Department of Geophysics carries out projects that are directed towards the prospection of new mineral raw materials with specialized methodology and the improvement of known methods in detailed recognition of geological conditions and determination of petrophysical parameters of exploited deposits.
Nowadays, special attention is paid to application of geophysical methods in recognition and monitoring of changes in natural environment caused by anthropogenic activity. In the 1980s, prof. Stanisław Małoszewski, as the Head of the Inter-Departmental Institute of Geophysics at the Faculty of Geological Prospecting, established and developed the mining geophysics, a new branch intended to solve selected mining problems with the use of geophysical methods. Mining geophysics was also oriented towards the geohazard, which appeared to be very important discipline because of increased intensity of raw materials exploitation, especially in the Upper Silesia region.
Now, several research groups work within the Department of Geophysics, which are presented below:
- The petrophysics and well-logging group undertakes the projects directed to combine the data from different scale measurements. On the basis of elastic properties of sandy-shaly Miocene formations in the Carpathian Foredeep and carbonate formations of the Main Dolomite in the Fore-Sudetic Monocline the methodology was proposed of joint interpretation of laboratory elastic waves velocity measurements, full waveforms acoustic logging and seismic attributes to upscale the detailed data to 3D seismic scale. The results of sophisticated, new technologies as X-ray micro- and nano-tomography were also included. Other tasks are focused on the effective use of modern technologies, i.e. geochemical logging, NMR logging and dipole source acoustic logging in order to improve the rock models of conventional hydrocarbon and water deposits as well as unconventional shale gas and tight gas formations. Statistical approach to rock type classification and semiautomatic subdivision of continuous rock formation into units of different reservoir and elastic properties is an example of developing and improving the known technologies in new applications. Also, the Monte Carlo modelling techniques are developed by the team in petrophysical applications. The gravity method has been used and developed since the Department of Geophysics was established.
- The geoelectrical team is working on engineering, environmental and archaeological problems with the use of Electrical Resistivity Tomography, Vertical Electrical Sounding and Penetrometer- Based Resistivity Profiling methods. The measurements are conducted in many areas of Poland. Examples of engineering applications regarding surface damages caused by mining exploitation come from Czernichów near Kraków (ISMOP project), Jaworzno, and Ruda Śląska (Upper Silesia). Environmental applications include some examples, such as: the influence of an industrial waste heap on subsurface zone condition in Kraków, Nowa Huta district, a dump heap impact on electrical properties of a subsurface zone in Czernichów near Kraków, detection of leachates from copper mining tailing pond Żelazny Mostr. Examples of archaeological problems cover a wide range of applications: archaeological remnants identification – in the Czorsztyn castle, detection of medieval graves in Modlnica near Kraków, recognition of near surface sediments nearby the Wawel Hill in Kraków and many other field case studies. Scientific work of that team comprises also numerical and analogue modelling. The Department of Geophysics poses a unique laboratory set-up consisting of a water tank and electrical measurement circuits allowing generate the field study on a laboratory scale.
- The seismic team utilizes seismic data in order to recognize broadly defined geological structures in order to improve exploration of conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs, to recognize geological structures of exploited deposits such as copper, native sulphur, rock salt as well as to identify the shallow geological structures and their geotechnical parameters. Hence, the team uses a wide range of processing, interpretation and theoretical wave-field modelling. In terms of geological interpretation, the structural, stratigraphic, sedimentation and litho-facies analyses are carried out. The seismic reservoir characterization includes complex seismic trace attributes calculation, determination of velocity field and extraction of geo-mechanic parameters. The seismic team also works on acquisition, processing and interpretation of seismic data in order to recognize the shallow geological structures, to determine the geotechnical parameters and to monitor the shallow deposits (e.g. native sulphur) during exploitation.
- The microgravity investigations were also developed and improved by the gravity team. Recently, the gravity measurements were applied as a basic method in geodynamic investigations in the Western Carpathians. Gravity measurements were also used in recognition of geothermal conditions in the Gorzów Wielkopolski area. Gravity investigations enabled the improvement of geological structures in the Sudetic and Fore-Sudetic Blocks for hydrocarbon prospection. Gravity and microgravity methods were also successfully used in the studies on anthropogenic impact on rock formation due to raw materials exploitation. The methodology for application of gravity and microgravity methods in geohazard problems is still improved and developed. Good example of such application comes from the “Sztolnia Dziedziczna” in Zabrze (Upper Silesia).
- The Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) team in the Department of Geophysics is very active in the area of shallow subsurface measurements applied to environmental, engineering, and archaeological tasks. The team greatly contributes to the popularization of GPR in various applications by publishing the remarkable examples of survey conducted for identification of historical underground items in churches, castles and other buildings.