Department of Geophysics and Seismology


There are five main stages in the activity of the Department of Geophysics and Seismology: the first is prehistory; the second is formation; the third is rapid development; the fourth is the crisis period; the fifth is modern. 

Stage I. The history of the formation of the Department of Geophysics and Seismology begins with the organization of the Kazakh Mining and Metallurgical Institute (KazGMI) in 1934, which initially consisted of one geological exploration faculty, combining the specialties: "Exploration of ore and non-metallic deposits" and "Engineering hydrogeology".
Significant successes of geophysical methods in the performance of exploration work required the training of qualified specialists in the field of exploration geophysics. Personnel produced in those years by Moscow, Leningrad, etc. Universities did not satisfy the rapidly growing geophysical industry of Kazakhstan.   The situation that developed by the end of the 40s dictated the urgent need to train our own qualified geophysicists.

Stage II. In 1951, to organize the department of "Geophysical methods of prospecting and exploration of MPI" from the Dnepropetrovsk Mining Institute, Ph.D., Associate Professor Nepomnyashchikh A.A., a specialist in the field of exploration geophysics, who had extensive teaching experience in higher education. He trained a large number of specialists in exploration geophysics, including candidates of sciences from among the Kazakh youth; some of them later became doctors of sciences.

In those years, great attention was paid to the physical and mathematical disciplines, which was greatly facilitated by the help of the departments of Higher Mathematics (Associate Professor Gorshin S.I.) and Physics (Professor Gulnitsky L.V.).

In the early years of the formation of the Department of Geophysical Methods of prospecting and exploration of MPI, well-known specialists from different regions of the USSR were invited to head laboratories: associate professor Netunakhin V.I. – electrical exploration, associate professor Masarsky S.I. – seismic exploration, associate professor Borodulin B.G. - magnetic exploration, senior lecturer Antonov G.V. - gravity exploration. Since 1961, a special programming course has been introduced (teacher Koval L.A.).

In 1960, D.V. Tsvetkov, an experienced specialist, one of the developers of the first field seismic stations and the organizer of seismic exploration in the former USSR, was invited to conduct the course "Seismic exploration".

Invaluable assistance in equipping laboratories with special equipment and equipment (including seismic stations) was provided to the department by the Kazakh Geophysical Trust, the Guryev Geophysical Office and other production organizations. Simultaneously with the creation of the material and technical base of the department, lecture courses, methodological support for laboratory and practical work, course and diploma design were developed. 

 The first graduation of geophysicists took place in 1954 in the number of 41 specialists who proved themselves in production from the best side. 
By the end of the 50s, the Department of Geophysics and Seismology had fully formed as one of the leading training of geophysical personnel in the former Soviet Union. High requirements for students of geophysics during the entire period of study at the department allowed them to become competent production workers and organizers of the geophysical service of Kazakhstan.

Stage III. In 1960, KazGMI was reorganized into the Kazakh Polytechnic Institute (KazPTI). Since that time, the stage of qualitative and quantitative growth of the Department of Geophysics and Seismology begins, which trained qualified geophysicists of the highest qualification. 

By 1966, the Department of Geophysics and Seismology employed 16 researchers, of whom one professor was a doctor of sciences, eight associate professors and candidates of sciences, four senior teachers and three assistants, there were 7 laboratories and one office.        

In 1966, in connection with the expansion of the training of geophysical personnel in Kazakhstan, the geophysical faculty was organized on the basis of the geophysical department. M.G.Karimov, a physicist, was appointed its first dean, who did a lot for the establishment and successful development of the new faculty as part of KazPTI. 

In 1976, the Faculty of Geophysics and the Department of Geophysics and Seismology became part of the Geological Exploration Faculty again. During these years, the number of annual graduates of the department reached 60-70 people. They successfully integrated into production geophysical organizations; many of them later became managers and responsible employees of production, headed research and design organizations, participated in the discovery of large deposits of hydrocarbons and solid minerals in Kazakhstan.

Stage IV. The collapse of the USSR and the economic chaos that followed, the limited funds allocated by the state for science and education led to the loss of clear plans for the distribution of graduates, reduced opportunities for the purchase of equipment, maintenance of staff and teachers, etc..

Despite certain difficulties in the life of society, education at the University began to be conducted in Kazakh and Russian. The staff of the department continued to strengthen, well-known scientists and production organizers were invited. 

Among them, Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences, Professor Tokish (Tolepbergen) Akishev is a talented organizer of the geophysical service of Kazakhstan, winner of the USSR State Prize (1985), who headed the department from 1992 to the end of his life. T.Akishev's name is listed in the Golden Book of Honor of the Kazakh SSR (1982). Over the years, he headed the Ili Geophysical Expedition, the Kazgeophysics NGO, the Glavprykaspiygeologiya State Technical University.

In 2001, the Department of Geophysics and Seismology received a license to train engineering personnel in the specialty 180540 – "Seismology". The opening of a new specialty was dictated by the fact that large territories of Kazakhstan, including areas with developed infrastructure, are located in earthquake-affected areas. The Department of Geophysics and Seismology has prepared two graduates of seismological engineers who work in seismological institutions in Kazakhstan.

Stage V. Throughout the history of its activity, the Department of Geophysics and Seismology has accumulated extensive experience in teaching students, its own traditions have emerged, requirements and criteria for the training of geophysicists have been determined. Over the more than seventy-year history of the department, over 2,000 geophysicists have been trained and graduated. Being the flagship of geophysical education in Kazakhstan, the department is constantly working to expand and develop ties with scientific and industrial organizations. 

In the early 2000s, in connection with the transition to the Bologna process of the education system in the Republic of Kazakhstan, the existing basic form of training engineering specialists with a 5-year period of study was replaced by mass training of bachelors with a 4-year period of study. The educational and thematic plans of the educational process have changed, and the duration of special courses has been reduced. The actual output of geophysicists in recent years has averaged 25-30 specialists per year (with variations of 12-48 in different years).


Purpose and tasks to be solved

The main purpose of the Department of Geophysics and Seismology is to prepare students, undergraduates and doctoral students for professional activities to solve practical problems related to the search and exploration of mineral deposits, fundamental research of the Earth's crust, as well as in-depth study of the theoretical foundations of geophysical methods, the study of the principles of processing field geophysical data and their geological interpretation, the integration of geophysical methods in solving geological and geophysical tasks. 

The achievement of this goal is ensured by solving the following tasks:
- Multidimensional training of students, undergraduates and doctoral students in modular programs, including processing and interpretation of geological and geophysical data;

- Deepening the integration of scientific, educational and innovative activities with domestic (NPTs Geoken, Nomad Geo Service, Seism-A, Geoservice, etc.) and foreign (Datamine, Phoenix Geophysics -Canada, Geosoft, PGS – Great Britain, CGG, Veritas -France, Paradigm – the Netherlands, Innovative Resource LLC, Grid Point Dynamics, Sequential - Russian Federation) companies for the training of competitive specialists in demand in the labor market.

- Expansion of scientific and technical cooperation with leading world and domestic research and educational centers (Pennsylvania state University, Colorado School of Mines Golden. Colorado – USA, Miskolc - Hungary, Xian Research institute, Université de Lorraine, Moscow, Perm, Irkut and Tomsk State Universities, K.I.Satpayev Institute of Geological Sciences, Institute of Seismology, Institute of Space Research of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Institute of Geophysical Research, Institute of Ionosphere and etc.).

- Acquisition by students, undergraduates and doctoral students of the skills to set and solve scientific and practical tasks, experience in carrying out research projects, acquisition of skills in performing work in modern software tools.

Mission and strategy

The mission of the Department of Geophysics and Seismology is the implementation of educational, research and innovation activities based on the unification, coordination and concentration of efforts of its scientific potential aimed at solving multi–profile tasks in priority scientific and applied areas of ore and oil and gas geophysics. 

Strategy of the Department of Geophysics and Seismology:

а) reducing and eliminating the gap between the theoretical training of students, undergraduates and doctoral students and the practical skills of using the acquired knowledge in production;

б) bringing the level of training of specialists in accordance with the realities and requirements of production;

в) scientific research, search for innovative solutions and consulting, 
г) development of promising scientific, scientific and technical, industrial and innovative projects and programs.

To achieve these strategic objectives, it is planned to:

•  Attracting the best practices of domestic and foreign companies, universities and institutes in the field of integrated solutions to urgent problems of education, science and innovation.

• Promotion of High Tech technologies in educational, fundamental and applied areas in the search and exploration of mineral deposits.

• Inclusion of the results of scientific and practical research in training; integration of educational programs with real production.

• Усовершенствование механизмов системного мониторинга знаний и компетенций students taking into account the requirements, expectations and satisfaction of consumers of educational services;

• Involvement of employers in the composition of commissions for the protection of students' diplomas and dissertations of undergraduates. Monitoring the career of graduates based on information from employers.

• Conducting trainings and advanced training courses in modular geology and geophysics programs for specialists in the ore and oil industries using modern software and with mandatory issuance of certificates.

The teaching staff of the Department of Geophysics and Seismology has extensive experience in conducting fundamental and applied research on deposits of solid minerals; in the fields of seismology, processing, interpretation and modeling of seismic data, geophysical potential fields, logging (open trunk), in the complex analysis of geological, geophysical and field data on areas and deposits in solving practical problems of geological exploration and geodynamic monitoring.

The faculty of the Department of Geophysics and Seismology also has experience in designing and evaluating hydrocarbon resources and reserves, as well as in supervision, audit and monitoring of geological exploration, in drawing up comprehensive programs for conducting geodynamic monitoring of subsurface resources, etc.
In the course of its activities, the faculty of the department promotes the results of scientific and innovative research through the publication of their results in national and international rating publications; approbation at conferences, symposiums, forums and other events.

The teaching staff of the Department takes part in organizing events (conferences, forums, etc.) in current areas of geophysics; incl. oversees the activities of the student community of geophysical engineers (SEG) and organizes annual student conferences through this community.

In 2018 The teaching staff of the Department of Geophysics and Seismology took part in the organization and holding of the international scientific and practical conference EAGE (European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers) within the walls of KazNTU named after K.I. Satpayev. In subsequent years (2019-2021), employees of the Department of Geophysics and Seismology were permanent members of the organizing committee for the EAGE international scientific and practical conference abroad.

In general, the mission of the Department of Geophysics and Seismology is aimed at ensuring the qualitative growth of highly professional specialists in the field of geophysics and geology of oil and gas fields through the development of the educational, educational and research environment and the training in accordance with the needs of the market of highly qualified personnel with high personal and professional competencies.

The Kazakh-Canadian scientific and educational center and the CGG training center (French company) were created at the Department of Geophysics. Regulations on the activities and the Development Program of the Kazakh-Canadian Scientific and Educational Center have been developed.

Among other areas of activity of the Department of Geophysics and Seismology in recent years we can highlight:

а) contacts with St. Petersburg Polytechnic University on the possibility of conducting joint geological and geophysical research on the Caspian Sea shelf;

б) development of proposals for areas of cooperation with the American Geological Institute;

в) planning a joint research project (R&D) of KazNRTU, Phoenix company, Institute of Geological Sciences and Institute of Seismology for the study of deep seismically active faults and geodynamics of the lithosphere.

Foreign teachers are invited to conduct lectures and seminars as part of the educational program for undergraduates and bachelors at the Department of Geophysics and Seismology. In the period from 2011-2018. Teachers from Moscow State University were invited. Lomonosov, Tomsk Polytechnic Institute. Every year, students, undergraduates and employees of the Department of Geophysics take part in international conferences and seminars in Kazakhstan and abroad, winning prizes, certificates and publications in journals with an impact factor, and undergo internships at universities in the Russian Federation and Western and Eastern Europe.

Another important direction of development of the Department of Geophysics and Seismology is the formation of modern academic and research infrastructure. On an ongoing basis, with the support of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the fleet of equipment and instruments is updated.

In addition, the development of close partnerships with the world's leading oil and gas companies plays a major role in this direction. In 2018, Logis-Geotech donated the OKO-2 ground penetrating radar for ground penetrating radar sensing worth about $15 thousand to USA. In 2020, Phoenix Geophysics donated a set of equipment, including an MTU-5C station for field surveys using audio-magnetotelluric sounding worth more than $72 thousand USA.

Partners from oil and gas and mining companies fill computer classes (with modern powerful graphics stations) with advanced software. Schlumberger, Datamine, Macromine, Geosoft, Pradigm, Grid Point Dynamics and others have provided academic licenses for software for geological and hydrodynamic modeling of oil and gas reservoirs and ore-bearing objects, which allows you to successfully combine research and educational activities.

In 2023, Associate Professor Sharapatov Abish Sharapatovich acquired the best-in-class МКС‑АТ6101С spectrometer for the department. This device is designed to carry out radiation scanning of territories and objects, measure the energy distribution of gamma radiation, measure the dose rate of gamma radiation, search and identify gamma-emitting radionuclides, and detect sources of neutron radiation. Using this device, our students can conduct practical and laboratory classes, write coursework and research papers in the discipline “Radiometry and Nuclear Geophysics,” and carry out measurements for their dissertation research.

In order to successfully master educational programs, students and undergraduates undergo practical training and research internships at enterprises of the oil, gas and mining industries of Kazakhstan: Institute of Seismology MNVORK, Institute of Geophysical Research, Institute geological sciences named after. K. I. Satpayeva, KazNIPImunaigas, operator and service companies: Karachaganak Petroleum Operating, Tengizchevroil, Kazgeology, PGD SERVICES, PGS Kazakhstan, SPC Geoken LLP, Tat-Arka, Kazakhstankaspiishelf, Qazaq geophysics, "Batys geofizservice", "GIS Company", "Kazakhmys", "Kazminerals", "Azimut Energy Services", "Karakudukmunai" LLP, Karazhanbasmunai JSC, Kazakhoil Aktobe LLP, Uzenpromgeofizika JSC, KazMunayGas JSC, PetroKazakhstan JSC, Geo Energi Group, Alstron LLP, Azimuth Geology LLP, Anega Kazakhstan LLP, JSC "Volgovgeology", "Geotechnocenter", LLP "GISS", LLP "Mining company “Ortalyk", LLP "Zhanros Drilling", LLP "Izdenis", LLP "KazGIIZ", LLP "Kyzylkum", JSC "Oil Company KOR", JSC "Uzenpromgeofizika", JV KATKO LLP, Bapy Mining LLP, NAC KazatomProm JSC, KAZ MineralsPLS, MMC Kazakhaltyn JSC, etc.

The best students and master's students can receive additional education under the academic mobility program at the Colorado School of Mines (USA), Moscow State University, Tomsk Polytechnic University, Freyet University, Lorraine University (Nancy, France), Institute of Mining Engineering and Technology (Beijing, China), Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland), University of Warsaw (Poland), Bergakademie Freiberg (Germany), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium) and other foreign universities.

Graduates of the bachelor's and master's degrees of the Department of Geophysics and Seismology of KazNTU named after K.I. Satpayev receive a bachelor's or master's degree in engineering and technology, respectively, and work in oil and gas and mining companies in engineering positions, in research institutes in scientific positions.

Doctoral students of the Department of Geophysics and Seismology have the opportunity to undergo internships at the best universities in the USA, Canada, Europe, Russia, China, Japan and other countries.

After successfully defending their doctoral dissertations, they work as chief geophysicists; directors of departments in the relevant area - in the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan, academic and departmental research organizations related to solving geological problems, in operator and service companies conducting work on prospecting, exploration and additional exploration of mineral deposits, as well as those exercising control over the development of these deposits.

In the scientific and pedagogical direction, they are engaged in organizational, managerial, research and educational activities in specialized areas in higher educational institutions.

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