Nov 30, 2023
GEOL 5660 - Geodynamics: The Earth’s Interior
Solid earth geophysics (gravity, magnetics, seismicity, heat flow) and internal structure, dynamics, and evolution of Earth’s core, mantle, and crust.
Credit Hours: 4
Repeat/Retake Information: May not be retaken.
Lecture/Lab Hours: 3.0 lecture
Grades: Eligible Grades: A-F,WP,WF,WN,FN,AU,I
- Fifteen percent of the course grade for graduate students will be based on oral presentations on current research on course topics.
- Graduate students are expected to perform at a higher level than their undergraduate counterparts. They are expected to have a more sophisticated grasp of current debates regarding the course topics.
- Apply constraints from rotational inertia data and chondrite compositions to infer the existence of density discontinuities within the Earth.
- Briefly describe Phanerozoic geology, tectonics and biology in the context of the 4.5 billion year history of the Earth.
- Build a conceptual planet-scale model for the Earth that best fits known constraints from geophysics, geochemistry, mineralogy, igneous petrology, planetary sciences and tectonics.
- Conceptually describe the rheology of mantle lithologies and the convective upward heat transport through sub-lithospheric mantle.
- Describe mantle depletion and heterogeneity of melt-incompatible trace element and their relationship to the formation and growth of continents.
- Describe mantle heterogeneity of radioactive isotopes and its implications for mantle convection styles and the growth of continents over geologic time.
- Describe the growth of continents at Andean type convergence zones via magmatic underplating and terrane accretion.
- Describe the thickening of continental lithosphere in zones of Alpine-Himalayan type convergence and the resulting uplift, intracrustal melting and extensional relaxation.
- Describe the thinning of continental lithosphere during periods of extension and its role in the production of flood basalts and the initiation of rifting or the eventual strain-hardening of the lithosphere.
- Explain the composition and state of the upper and lower mantles and of the Transition Zone between them.
- Explain the role of reconstructive phase transformations of olivine and pyroxenes in the subduction of oceanic plates.
- Graduate student term papers are expected to be 20% longer than those of the undergraduates.
- Know the geologic evidence for the formation of stable Archean cratons, including greenstone sequences, banded ironstones and cherts and stromatolites.
- Know the layering and composition of average continental crust.
- Show how the tectonics of the Proterozoic transitioned into the current processes of the Phanerozoic.
- Speculate as to the continued future evolution of the planet and its eventual geological shutdown as internal heat production ceases.
- Understand the composition, state and processes operating within the core and current dynamo theories for the geomagnetic field.
- Understand the mechanical properties of continental lithosphere and its strength in compression and extension as a function of temperature.
- Understand the relationship between global seismology and the spherical layering of the planet.
- Understand the role of the upper mantle in the formation of oceanic crust.
- Understand the transitions in tectonic style, continental growth rate and atmospheric chemistry that occurred near the Archean/Proterozoic boundary.
- Use current theories of planet formation to explain the formation of layers within the Earth.
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