Undergraduate Course: Planetary Interiors (EASC10115)
|School||School of Geosciences
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The course studies (both radially-averaged and three-dimensional), composition and dynamics of the Earth, compares it to that of other solar system objects, and covers which geophysical methods we use to investigate them and how we use those methods, and some current controversies.
Further Course Information
1. The one-dimensional Earth and Earth materials ¿ reference Earth models and the data that go into them, composition of the mantle and core, composition changes as a function of depth, hydrostatic equilibrium and the effect of compression, the Adams-Williamson equation, ways of determining properties of materials at high temperature and pressure.
2. The crust-mantle system ¿ melting of rocks and chemical differentiation, radiometric dating and isotopic evolution.
3. Gravity and the geoid.
4. Mantle rheology and convection-types of deformation and mechanisms of creep, timescales on which they operate, observational information, Rayleigh number for the mantle, Newtonian and non-Newtonian mantle convection and plate tectonics.
5. The three-dimensional Earth ¿ mantle seismic tomography and its interpretation.
6. Core convection, structure and dynamics ¿ essential force balance, Navier-Stokes equation, essentials of the geodynamo including its energy source, waves in the core, inner core (including anisotropy, super-rotation).
7. The D" region ¿ structure, composition (including post-Perovskite, anisotropy), core-mantle coupling, influence on the geodynamo.
8. Cosmology, celestial mechanics, and the search for extrasolar planets.
9. Sending rockets, satellites and people to other planets.
10. Meteorites and their composition and origin.
11. Comparative Planetology ¿ surfaces, energy budgets, geophysical properties, and atmospheres.
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Good background in mathematics and physics (at least 1st year); some basic geophysics knowledge.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 36,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10,
Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 3,
Summative Assessment Hours 24,
Revision Session Hours 2,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Written Exam: 70%, Course Work: 30%, Practical Exam: 0%.
To pass you need to obtain an average of 40% or greater for the course - you do not need to pass both components.
The course work consists of 3 parts: (1) a computer-based practical to infer density within the Earth (10%), (2) an individual 5- min presentation on written on a topic related to Planetary Colonization (10%) and (3) a group presentation on a key topic in Planetary Interiors (10%).
5 minute presentations (formative) Same day - Friday, Week 9, S1
Computer-based density practical - Monday, Week 11, S1
5 minute presentations (summative) - Friday, Week 10, S1
Group presentations (formative) - Friday, Week 4, S2
Group presentations (summative) - Monday, Week 10, S2
||Feedback will be given via written comments on class assessments as well as through in-class discussions. A formative assessment of group presentations will be given a week prior to the summative assessment. There will also be also be opportunities for feedback via in-class discussions on tutorial classes in the second semester.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||1:30|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Interpret global geophysical information in terms of simple models of planetary interiors
- Understand heat flow through the Earth's surface; understand the possible forms of convection in the mantle and core, and the constraints on fluid motion from geophysical observations
- Understand and evaluate the different methods used to search for exoplanets; deduce chemical and physical properties for other planets by comparison with those of the Earth
- Understand the three-dimensional structure of the Earth and how it is determined, using both highly mathematical and physical understanding and approaches
- Review critically and consolidate knowledge in the relevant areas, and offer professional level insights into the subject
|All lectures will have both powerpoint presentations and written lecture notes available on LEARN. |
Additional reading should be taken from:
1) Fundamental Planetary Sciences, Jack J. Lissauer & Imke de Pater, Cambridge University Press, 2019
2) New Theory of the Earth, Don L. Anderson, Cambridge University Press, 2007
3) Potential Theory in Gravity and Magnetic Applications, Blakely, R., C.U.P
4) Theory of the Earth, Don Anderson, Blackwell Science Inc, 1989
5) Introduction to Seismology, Peter M. Shearer, Cambridge University Press, 1999
6) The Earth's Mantle, Ian Jackson (ed), Cambridge University Press, 2000
7) The Earth's Core, J.A. Jacobs, Academic Press, 1987
8) Geodynamics, Donald L. Turcotte and Gerald Schubert, Cambridge University Press, 2002 (2nd Edition)
9) The Solid Earth: An Introduction to Global Geophysics, C.M.R Fowler, C.U.P, 2005 (2nd edition)
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Students will gain specialist knowledge in global scale geophysics. The course will require the student to be independent critical thinkers evidenced through the evaluation of different approximations and opposing models of the physical structure and properties of the Earth and other planets. We the students will expect to be resourceful and independent learners in gathering supporting material throughout the course, and reflective in integrating knowledge and skills gathered both in this and prerequisite courses.
|Course organiser||Prof Wyn Williams
Tel: (0131 6)50 4909
|Course secretary||Ms Katerina Sykioti
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430