EPS 108: Geodynamics

Syllabus, Fall 2012

The catalog description reads: ``Basic principles in studying the physical properties of earth materials and the dynamic processes of the earth. Examples are drawn from tectonics, mechanics or earthquakes, etc., to augment course material.'' From the more detailed outline below, it will be apparent that the emphasis is on the dynamics of geological and geophysical processes, rather than properties of earth materials.

The outline below also contains a list of topics to be covered and reading assignments (and sometimes suggested supplementary reading). Homework assignments will sometimes be posted as pdf files in this outline too (but homework will usually be distributed in class).

Class meeting times:

Formal lectures are held Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00 am - 10:00 am, and Fridays from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm, in McCone 265. There may be a discussion section (time to be arranged) to review basic math, to help with homework, and discuss progress with term projects.


EPS 60 and Physics 7a; or Math 53, 54; or permission of instructor

Text and notes:

D.L. Turcotte and G. Schubert, Geodynamics, 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, 2002 (prices on bn.com are $73.81 for the paperback edition; there are probably lots of used versions floating around)

I will also refer to Schubert et al. (Mantle Convection), Davies (Dynamic Earth), Jaupart and Mareschal (Heat Generation and Transport in Earth), Watts (Isostasy and flexure of the lithosphere), and Cox and Hart (Plate tectonics, How it works). These other 5 books are on reserve in the Earth Science library
The course will follow the structure of Turcotte and Schubert quite closely.


Course evaluation:

Term project:

The term project should address some topic or issue in geodynamics. Ideally the topic is not one covered in class because during the scheduled exam period you will present an overview of your term project to the class (3-5 minutes allowed, only). You are encouraged to think more broadly than simply reviewing the literature -- you could outline an approach to addressing an unresolved question, actaully solve a problem, perform some numerical calculations, do some lab experiments . . . . You will need to submit an abstract of your project -- in the form of an AGU abstract -- by November 15. Please go to AGU homepage) to see examples of abstracts. Please also see other guides for writing abstracts. The final term project will be submitted in a format and length similar to Geophysical Research Letters papers. Templates and length limitations for these papers be downloaded by the journal homepage (follow links from AGU homepage)


Weeks 1 and 2 (August 24, 27, 29, and 31): Plate tectonics

Weeks 3-4 (September 5, 7, 10, 12, and 14) Stress, strain and elastic deformation Week 5-6 (September 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, and 28) Heat transfer

Weeks 7-10 (October 1, 3, 8, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, and 24 with midterm on October 5Fluid Mechanics and MIDTERM 1

Weeks 10-11 (October 26, 29, 31) Gravity Week 12 (November 2, 7, and 9 and midterm November 5) Porous Media Weeks 13-14 (November 14, 16, and 19) Rheology of geological materials and faulting Week 15 (November 26, last midterm November 30, and FIELD TRIP on November 28) Rotation, field trip, and MIDTERM 3 The scheduled final exam is Thursday December 13 from 7-10 pm. We can use this slot for presentation of term projects.

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