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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Geomagnetism (EASC10036)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe course covers 4 topics:
1. The spatial and temporal characteristics of the geomagnetic field.
2. Theories of the origin of the geomagnetic field.
3. The solar atmosphere and the solar wind.
4. Applications of geomagnetism.
Course description Lecture 1: Introduction, sources of magnetic data.
Lecture 2: Potential representation, spherical harmonics.
Lecture 3: Internal/external fields, spherical harmonic analysis, IGRF/DGRF, geocentric dipole.
Lecture 4: Non-dipole field, source spectrum and characteristics, Risk to technology.
Lecture 5: Introduction to time variations of internal field and sources of data, Observatory records, secular variation.
Lecture 6: Magnetic properties of rocks, paleomagnetism, archaeomagnetism, lake sediment records, normal and reversed NRM, field reversal, interpretation of geology from crustal field maps.
Lecture 7: Reversal time-scale, lava flows, deep ocean sediments, marine magnetic anomalies, ancient field
Lecture 8: Theories of the origin of the earth's magnetic field, disk dynamo.
Lecture 9: Maxwell's equations, quasi-static approximation.
Lecture 10: Application of magnetohydrodynamics to the core, diffusion and frozen flux approximations, magnetic Reynolds number.
Lecture 11: Dynamo theory, effect, kinematic dynamo problem.
Lecture 12: Navier-Stokes equation, steady slow motion solution, Proudman-Taylor theorem, weak and strong field dynamos.
Lecture 13: Energy sources for the geodynamo.
Lecture 14: Disk Dynamos and Reversals.
Lecture 15: Solar atmosphere and wind.
Lecture 16: Solar magnetic field, solar cycle and the solar wind structure.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Mathematics for Physics 4 (PHYS08038) OR Dynamics and Vector Calculus (PHYS08043) OR Mathematical Methods for Geophysicists (EASC09021)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Physics & Mathematics students (4th year and MPhys) are welcome to attend and their previous courses will be more than sufficient pre-requisites.
Additional Costs None.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesIt is RECOMMENDED that students have covered vector calculus, and ideally also the basics of electromagnetism.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 16, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 6, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 72 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 70 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam: 70%, Course Work: 30%, Practical Exam: 0%.

Assessment Deadlines
Course Work: Tuesday Week 5
Written Exam ¿ Semester 2, May Exam Diet

Feedback Students have the opportunity to submit problem sheet questions and computer-based exercises solutions for feedback. The answers are also discussed in tutorials.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)1:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Students are expected to leave this course with an integrated, critical understanding of the physical and mathematical basis of Geomagnetism.
  2. Students are expected to have detailed understanding the spatial and temporal characteristics of the geomagnetic field; theories of the origin of the geomagnetic field; the solar atmosphere and the solar wind; applications of geomagnetism.
  3. Through prerequisite reading, students are expected to develop an understanding of the subjects development and gain insight into the range of data types and techniques of enquiry employed in this field.
  4. Problem sheets and computer-based exercises will help reinforce mathematical understanding and ability to manipulate data.
  5. Students are expected to be able to analyse complex problems and be able to demonstrate some originality and creativity in dealing with professional level issues in the field of geomagnetism.
Reading List
Most important first

Campbell, W.H. Introduction to Geomagnetic Fields (2nd Edition), Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Jacobs, J.A. (Editor), Geomagnetism (4 vols), Academic Press, 1987.

Kivelson, M.G. and Russell, C.T. Introduction to Space Physics, Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Merill, R.T., McElhinny, M.W. and McFadden, P.L. The Magnetic Field of the Earth Paleomagnetism; the Core and the Deep Mantle. Academic Press, 1996.

Parkinson, W.D. Introduction to Geomagnetism, Scottish Academic Press; 1983.

Gubbins, .D. and Herrero-Bervera E. (Editors), Encyclopaedia of Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism, Springer, 2007.

Merrill, R., Our Magnetic Earth: The Science of Geomagnetism, University of Chicago Press, 2012.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserProf Kathy Whaler
Tel: (0131 6)50 4904
Course secretaryMr Johan De Klerk
Tel: (0131 6)50 7010
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