Spring 2010 Class Notes


All files are in Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt) or Word (.doc) format unless otherwise indicated

Email Prof. Nimmo (fnimmo@es.ucsc.edu) if you have problems accessing them


·        Course Syllabus                                            


Timing/Location: Tues/Thurs from 2:00 to 3:45 in E&MS D226


Course Goals: To provide an introduction into how we use remote-sensing observations and geophysical modeling to obtain a quantitative understanding of the structure and evolution of planetary interiors.


Course Outline: see below


Text:  Turcotte and Schubert, Geodynamics (2nd edition), available in the bookstore. Not all parts of the course are covered in detail in this book.



40% Weekly homeworks (due each Wednesday 5pm)

20% Midterm

40% Final



One of: 110C, 111, Maths 22, Maths 23 A-B; and

One of: 113, Phys 6C, Phys 5C.

I am going to assume familiarity with ordinary differential equations. Some use will be made of vector calculus (div, grad, curl) and partial differential equations.


Collaboration on homework assignments is permitted and encouraged. But the work that you hand in must be your own i.e. if I ask you to reproduce your work on the board without your notes, you must be able to do so. If you are ever unsure about the appropriate level of collaboration, please ask.


If you use the textbook or other outside sources (such as web sites) then you must cite the source that you use.


          Course Outline


Week 1 (March 30*): Introduction, solar system formation, cosmochemistry, gravity.

Powerpoint slides.         PDF slides.           Homework#1         Answers


Week 2 (April 6):  Gravity (cont’d), moments of inertia.  (Francis away 8th)

Powerpoint slides.         PDF slides.           Homework#2       Answers


Week 3 (April 13):  Stress and strain, material properties, equations of state.  (Francis away 13th)

Powerpoint slides.         PDF slides.           Homework#3       Answers


Week 4 (April 20):  Isostasy and flexure.

Powerpoint slides.         PDF slides.           Homework#4       Answers


Week 5 (April 27):  Heat generation and heat transfer.

Powerpoint slides.         PDF slides.           Homework#5       Answers


*dates refer to Tuesday of each week


                             Formula sheet for the midterm

                             Example midterm questions

                    Midterm (Thurs May 6th). BRING A CALCULATOR!

                   2010 Midterm                Answers



Week 6 (May 4):  Seismology.

Powerpoint slides.         PDF slides.


Week 7 (May 11): Fluid dynamics and convection.

Powerpoint slides.         PDF slides.           Homework#6       Answers


Week 8 (May 18): Convection (cont’d); Tides and orbits.

Powerpoint slides.         PDF slides.           Homework#7            Answers


Week 9 (May 25): Case study – using these techniques in practice.

Powerpoint slides.         PDF slides.           Homework#8                 Answers


Week 10 (June 1): Revision lecture.

Powerpoint slides.                   PDF slides.



          List of relevant practice questions from Geodynamics (Turcotte and Schubert, 2002)



                             Formula sheet for the final

                             Example questions from a previous final


                             Final exam is Mon 7th June 4:00-7:00 p.m. in D236