Topics in Geodynamics (540/790)
Applications of continuum physics to geological problems; fundamental
physical processes necessary for an understanding of plate tectonics;
quantitative analyses of geological problems stressed.
Reading and problems for selfstudy with focus on planetary
applications.
Structure
 Text:
Geodynamics (Turcotte & Schubert, second edition, Cambridge U
Press)
 Meeting:
Once per week in office hours to discuss problem sets and general
questions.
 Evaluation:
Based on problem sets and one final, oral exam.
 Prerequisite: MATH 126; corequisite: PHYS 135bL or PHYS 152L,
GEOL440.
 Special permission by instructor is required for this
course.
Syllabus
The course is based on selfstudy of the textbook, additional reading,
and working on problem sets.
Reading
All of chapters 1 through 7 of the Geodynamics textbook, and
additional material from other sources (see below). Textbook
exceptions: 2.8, 3.18, 4.194.21, 4.27, 4.30, 6.12, 6.13, 6.17. The
focus is on chapters 4, 5, and 6.
Problem sets and additional reading
The following numbers refer to problem sets in text, not to reading
sections as above. W1, W2 means the weeks in which the problems are to
be completed.
 Intro
Magnetism and other: 1.3, 1.8, 1.11, 1.17, 1.20 (W1)
 Stress and strain
Isostacy and stress: 2.3, 2.7, 2.8 (W2)
Pressure: 2.17, 2.18 (W3)
 Elasticity
additional reading:
Problem sets:
Erosion stress: 3.2, 3.4 (W4)
Plate bending: 3.7, 3.14 (W5)
 Heat
Radioactive heating: 4.3, 4.5,
Geotherms: 4.9, 4.11, 4.15, 4.17 (W6)
Cooling: 4.19, 4.23, 4.28, 4.31 (W7)
Planetary: 4.38, 4.39, 4.61, 4.64, 4.65 (W8)
Lithospheric: 4.53, 4.56 (W9)
 GRAVITY
Acceleration, gravity: 5.1, 5.3 (W10)
Inertia: 5.8, 5.10, 5.11, Isostacy: 5.23 (W11)
 Fluids
Simple flow: 6.4, 6.5, 6.7 (W12)
PGR: 6.12, Plumes: 6.25 (W13)
Convection: 6.29, 6.35, 6.36 (W14)
 Rheology
7.11, 7.15, 7.16, 7.17, 7.18, 7.21 (W15)
Updated: June 14, 2021
(c) Thorsten W. Becker, 19972021.
