GEOSCI 420 - Introductory Earth Physics
Section: 001
Term: FA 2007
Subject: Geological Sciences (GEOSCI)
Department: LSA Earth & Environmental Sciences
Requirements & Distribution:
Enforced Prerequisites:
MATH 116, 156, 176, 186, or 295.
Other Course Info:
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course treats the application of physical methods to the study of the solid Earth. Main themes include the kinematic and dynamic aspects of plate tectonics, physical transport mechanisms, and Earth structure. The main focus is on global geophysics, but we will also encounter applications from exploration or environmental geophysics. The grade is based on weekly problem sets that focus on quantitative problems (50%) and two exams (20% for the first, 30% for the second).

Text: Fowler CMR, The Solid Earth: An introduction to global geophysics. 2005 2nd ed. English Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 0521893070.

Course topics

  • Gravity:
    Galileo, Kepler, Newton: planetary orbits.
    Earth structure: gravity, moment of inertia, Earth models.
    Use of gravity in exploration/environmental geophysics.
    Geoid and Isostasy
  • Heat:
    Surface heatflow, heat conduction, geotherms.
    Heat sources: radiogenic heating, secular cooling.
  • Waves:
    Seismology, elastic waves, strain, stress.
    Travel time curves, seismograms, Earth structure.
  • Magnetism:
    Earth’s magnetic field, magnetic minerals.
    Paleomagnetism: continental drift, dating.
  • Dynamics (if time permits)
    Earth as a heat engine.
    Thermal evolution of the Earth.

GEOSCI 420 - Introductory Earth Physics
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MWF 12:00PM - 1:00PM
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