GEO 2201 -- Changes

Mon Dec 1 12:34:50 2008

Effective Term: New:  1099 - Fall 2009
Old:  1089 - Fall 2008
College: New:  TIOT - Institute of Technology
Old:  TIOT - Technology, Institute of
Department: New:  11130 - Geology & Geophysics
Old:  11130 - IT Geology & Geophysics Admin
Max-Min Credits
for Course:
New:  4.0 to 4.0 credit(s)
Old:  3.0 to 3.0 credit(s)
Grading Basis: New:   A-F only
Old:   Stdnt Opt
Progress Units:
New:  Not allowed to bypass limits.
4.0 credit(s)
Old:  Not allowed to bypass limits.
3.0 credit(s)
Financial Aid
Progress Units:
New:  Not allowed to bypass limits.
4.0 credit(s)
Old:  Not allowed to bypass limits.
3.0 credit(s)
Repetition of
New:   Repetition not allowed.
Old:   Repetition not allowed.
Proposal Changes: New:  Increase from 3 to 4 credits
Old:  <no text provided>
Sponsor Name:
New:  Jim Stout
Sponsor E-mail Address:
Please provide a provisional syllabus for new courses and courses in which changes in content and/or description and/or credits are proposed that include the following information: course goals and description; format/structure of the course (proposed number of instructor contact hours per week, student workload effort per week, etc.); topics to be covered; scope and nature of assigned readings (texts, authors, frequency, amount per week); required course assignments; nature of any student projects; and how students will be evaluated.

The University policy on credits is found under Section 4A of "Standards for Semester Conversion" at . Provisional course syllabus information will be retained in this system until new syllabus information is entered with the next major course modification, This provisional course syllabus information may not correspond to the course as offered in a particular semester.

New:     GEO-2201
Geodynamics I


Geodynamics-I (Geo 2201) is the beginning core course (with a co-requisite of Physics 1301 and Calculus I) for majors in geology and geophysics.  In terms of content and concepts, it is at a slightly higher level than the non-prerequisite course, Geo 1001: Earth and its Environments, which is intended for non-majors.  Geodynamics-I takes as its core the theory of plate tectonics and explores on a semi-quantitative basis our knowledge of whole earth properties, including a short introduction to thermal convection in the Earth’s mantle, the engine for plate tectonics.  The geological components start with basics of mineralogy and petrology, emphasizing high pressure-high temperature behavior, and depth-dependent phase transitions of minerals and viscosity.  The geophysical components start with whole Earth gravity and magnetism, earthquake generation and seismological evidence for internal structure of the Earth.  The two approaches – geological and geophysical – merge in the latter part of the course to address (a) the quantitative evidence for plate tectonics: marine magnetic anomalies, continental drift, seismicity at plate boundaries, subduction of plates and heat flow, and (b) the geological surface expressions of plate tectonics: global-scale geology, tectonics at plate subduction zones, exhumation of deep crust and neotectonics.  The goal of the course is a semi-quantitative understanding of the theory of plate tectonics, and its evidence throughout the solid Earth, from its core to the outermost crust.  A list of topics to be covered in the course follows.


The course is comprised of three hours of lecture and one two hour laboratory per week, for a total of four semester credits.  The two textbooks currently used in the course are given at the bottom of the lecture schedule which also follows.  The assigned readings each week are also given in the lecture schedule: they require 4-5 hours of student effort per week. Students are evaluated on the basis of three lecture exams which count 75% of the course grade.  The remaining 25% is based on performance in the lab.

Topics in Geo 2201 (4 cr) Geodynamics I proposed for fall, 2009

Gravity and Isostasy

Size and topography of the Earth
        Isostatic compensation, Isostatic Rebound
Newton’s Law of Gravity
Gravity field of the Earth (Geoid and Spheriod)
Gravity Anomalies and corrections (Bouguer and Free Air anomalies)
Gravity anomalies and isostasy
Gravity anomalies over MOR and subduction zones

Plate Tectonics

        Topography and heat flow of Mid Ocean Ridges
Composition of Oceanic Crust
Geophysical Properties of Mid Ocean Ridges
Conductive cooling model of oceanic lithosphere (Diffusion Eq.)
Transform faults, Fracture Zones, and Ridge Offsets
Types of convergence zones
Geophysical properties and Geological features of subduction zones
Driving mechanisms
Relative vs. Absolute motions, Hot spot tracks
Motions on a sphere, Euler Poles, Velocity space diagrams
Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism

        Description and spatial variation of Present Day field (Magnetic Dipole Eq.)
        Time dependence (secular variation, Magnetic Reversals)
        Geomagnetic Polarity Time Scale
        Marine magnetic Anomalies and Sea Floor spreading
Geodynamo Models
How Rocks get magnetized (Curie Temperature, TRM, DRM)
Basic principles of Apparent Polar Wander and paleogeographic reconstructions

Physical Properties of Earth Materials

Basic thermodynamics related to phase transitions
Effects of Pressure, Temperature, Equation of State
Density profile of Earth
Basic principles of stress and strain
Elastic, Plastic, Brittle behavior of materials

Earthquakes and Seismic Waves

Location (epicenter, focal depth)
Global distribution of Earthquakes
Magnitude and seismic moment
Types of Seismic Waves
Earthquake focal mechanisms (Beach ball Diagrams) and types of faults

Seismic Waves and Earth Structure

        Refraction, Reflection, and Snell’s Law
        Travel time curves and seismic phases
        Seismic evidence for compositional, phase, and rheological layers
        Seismic tomography

Thermal Properties of the Earth

Heat flow sources and temperatures in the Earth
Heat transfer mechanisms       
Basic heat conduction equation
Temperature profile in Earth
Adiabatic temperature gradient
Mantle Convection (layered vs whole, effects of phase transitions)

Igneous and Metamorphic Processes

Magmas, volcanoes and the making of continents       
Eutectic melting
        Effects of composition and fluids on melting
        Decompression melting
        Melting in subduction zones
        Chemical differentiation of magma
        Metamorphic minerals and textures
        Metamorphic facies

Geologic Time

Sedimentary rocks
Relative time relationships
Isotopes, radioactive decay, Basics of radiometric dating
Geologic Time scale
Geologic history and catastrophic events

Old:  <no text provided>