Episode 137: How near-surface geophysics protects the world

Klaus Holliger discusses his 2022 Honorary Lecture, “Using Near-Surface Geophysics to Estimate Soil and Rock Physical Properties.”

The shallow subsurface contains our drinking water and produces our food, and it is also where we ultimately discharge much of our waste. Recent history has taught us that overuse, let alone abuse, of our environment, may lead to the long-term detriment to our livelihood. The protection and sustainable use of this fragile surficial environment has therefore become a societal and political issue of critical importance. Near-surface geophysics has an essential role to play in this endeavor.

Klaus and host Andrew Geary explore near-surface geophysics using Klaus’s Honorary Lecture as a starting point. They discuss the advantages of geostatistical techniques and two approaches to relating easy-to-measure geophysical data to more elusive rock and soil physical properties. This episode showcases the value of near-surface geophysics to the public and highlights cutting-edge techniques to better understand what’s happening under our feet.

Seismic Soundoff · 137: How near-surface geophysics protects the world

Related links


Klaus Holliger received MSc and Ph.D. degrees in geophysics from ETH Zurich, Switzerland, as well as a postgraduate degree in economics from the University of London. After a postdoc at Rice University in Houston, Texas, he joined ETH Zurich’s newly founded Applied and Environmental Geophysics Group. He then moved to a chaired professorship at the University of Lausanne, where he served as vice-dean of research, head of the Institute of Geophysics, and head of the Center for Research of the Terrestrial Environment. He also holds adjunct-type professorships at ETH Zurich and Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China.

In addition to earlier distinctions, Klaus has received SEG’s Harold Money and Frank Frischknecht Leadership Awards for his more recent work. As a founding member of the Applied and Environmental Geophysics Group of ETH Zurich, he also shared SEG’s Distinguished Service Award. Klaus has served as president of the Near Surface Geophysics Section of SEG, as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Geophysics, as associate editor of GEOPHYSICS, Water Resources ResearchGeology, and Solid Earth, and as co-editor of several books and special issues. His primary research interest is hydrogeophysics sensu lato.


SEG produces Seismic Soundoff to benefit its members, the scientific community, and inform the public on the value of geophysics. To show your support for the show, please leave a 5-star rating on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. It takes less than five seconds to leave a 5-star rating and is the number one action you can take to show your appreciation for this free resource. And follow the podcast while you are on the app to be notified when each new episode releases. 

Original music created by Zach Bridges. This episode was hosted, edited, and produced by Andrew Geary at 51 features, LLC. Thank you to the SEG podcast team: Jennifer Cobb, Kathy Gamble, and Ally McGinnis.

Download this Seismic Soundoff