geo·​phys·​ics ˌjē-ə-ˈfi-ziks How to pronounce geophysics (audio)
plural in form but singular or plural in construction
: a branch of earth science dealing with the physical processes and phenomena occurring especially in the earth and in its vicinity
geophysical adjective
geophysically adverb
geophysicist noun

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Geophysics applies the principles of physics to the study of the Earth. It deals with such things as the movement of the Earth's crust and the temperatures of its interior. Another subject is the behavior of the still-mysterious geomagnetic field. Some geophysicists seek out deposits of ores or petroleum; others specialize in earthquakes; still others study the water beneath the Earth's surface, where it collects and how it flows.

Examples of geophysics in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Decoding what is going on in the center of the Earth is one of the most challenging problems in geophysics. Simon Redfern, Discover Magazine, 10 Feb. 2015 The scientists used computer models to simulate the geophysics of Mars, and found that a plume some 95–285 degrees Celsius hotter and slightly less dense than the surrounding mantle centered almost directly under the fossae would do the trick. Phil Plait, Scientific American, 5 Jan. 2023 The glacier is around 1/10 of a square mile — or between 50 and 60 acres, said Matthew Sturm, a geophysics professor with the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute and the leader of its Snow-Ice-Permafrost Group. Alena Naiden, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Dec. 2022 Handmade Vodka, is a former Longhorn who received degrees in geology and geophysics from the university. Dallas News, 31 Jan. 2022 The field of geophysics has also evolved thanks to modern technologies, such as GPR, which uses radar pulses to capture images of what’s below ground. Avery Hurt, Discover Magazine, 31 Jan. 2022 Zimov, who is sixty-six, studied geophysics in Vladivostok and, in the waning years of the Soviet Union, moved to Chersky, along with his wife, Galina; a son, Nikita, was born shortly afterward. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, 10 Jan. 2022 Gabi Laske is a professor of geophysics at the University of California—San Diego. CBS News, 1 Dec. 2022 Full moons always rise close to sunset opposite the sun, which can give them a reddish-orange tinge, said Kevin Lewis, an associate professor of planetary geophysics at Johns Hopkins University., 10 Sep. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'geophysics.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary

First Known Use

circa 1889, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of geophysics was circa 1889

Dictionary Entries Near geophysics

Cite this Entry

“Geophysics.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


geo·​phys·​ics ˌjē-ə-ˈfiz-iks How to pronounce geophysics (audio)
: a science that deals with the physical processes occurring in or near the earth
geophysical adjective
geophysicist noun

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