Office of Academic Affairs
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal

Earth and Environmental Sciences

EES 402: Geodynamics (3)

Prerequisites (Desirable): All EES 300 level courses

Learning Objectives:

The course provides an opportunity to learn the basic concepts of deformation of solids, rheology of Earth materials, and flow in porus media. Thereafter, a global perspective of plate tectonic and geodynamic processes, including the nature of plate boundaries and the forces that drive those processes will be provided. Finally this will enable students to understand the tectonic processes that lead to different deformation domains of the Earth.

Course Contents:

Structure of Earth, historical perspective, continental drift, sea floor spreading and the birth of plate tectonics, impact of plate tectonics; Interior of the Earth.

Stress and Strain in Solids:
Body forces and surface forces, stress in two dimensions, pressure in the deep interiors of planets, stress measurement, basic ideas about strain, strain measurements.

Heat Transfer:
Introduction, Fourier’s law of heat conduction, measuring the Earth’s surface heat flux, the Earth’s surface heat flow, continental geotherm, radial heat conduction in a sphere or spherical shell.

Introduction, gravitational acceleration external to the rotationally distorted earth, centrifugal acceleration and the acceleration of gravity, the gravitational potential and the geoid, moments of inertia, surface gravity anomalies, Bouguer gravity formula, forces required to maintain topography and the geoid.

Rock Rheology:
Introduction, elasticity, diffusion creep, dislocation creep, shear flows of fluids with temperature- and stress-dependent rheologies, mantle rheology, rheological effects on mantle convection, mantle convection and the cooling of the Earth, crustal rheology, viscoelasticity, elastic–perfectly plastic behavior.

Flow in Porus Media:
Equations of conservation of mass, momentum, and energy for flow in porous media, one-dimensional advection of heat in a porous medium, thermal convection in a porous layer.

The Dynamic Earth:
Continental drift, seafloor spreading, continental reconstructions, geologic evidence for continental drift, paleoclimatology, paleontologic evidence for continental drift, paleomagnetism, sea floor spreading and transform faults, mantle plumes and igneous activities.

The Framework of Plate Tectonics:
Plates and plate margins, distribution of earthquakes, relative plate motions, absolute plate motions, hotspots, direct measurement of relative plate motions, finite plate motions, stability of triple junctions, present day triple junctions.

The Mechanism of Plate Tectonics:
Contracting Earth hypothesis, expanding Earth hypothesis, calculation of the ancient moment of inertia of the Earth, calculation of the ancient radius of the Earth implications of heat flow, convection in the mantle the vertical extent of convection, the forces acting on plates, driving mechanisms of plate tectonics, mantle drag mechanism, edge-force mechanism, evidence for convection in the mantle, the mechanism of the supercontinent cycle.

Chemical Geodynamics:
Radioactivity and geochronology, geochemical reservoirs, two-reservoir model with instantaneous crustal differentiation, noble gas systems, isotope systematics.

Implications for Geodynamics:
Implications of plate tectonics, environmental change, economic geology, natural hazards.

Suggested Readings :

  1. Kearey, P., Klepeis, K.A., and Vine F. J., 2009, Global Tectonics (3rd Edition), John Wiley and Sons.
  2. Donald, L. G., and Turcotte, S., 2000, Geodynamics (3rd Edition), Cambridge University Press.
  3. Fowler, C. M. R., 2005, The Solid Earth: An Introduction to Global Geophysics (2nd Edition), Cambridge University Press.

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