Department of Applied Science

Course Syllabus

7355 Introduction to Geophysics


I. Instructor: Dr. Haydar Al-Shukri


II.                 Catalog Description:


Application of geology and geophysics to study the interior of the earth and the development of its surface features. Three lectures per week. (3 hr.)


III.               Prerequisites: Calculus I


IV.              Course Objectives:


A.                To give the participants of geology and geophysics an introduction to the physics of the earth and the dynamic processes shaping the earth.


B.                 To introduce the participants to the basic theory of geophysical instrumentation, data collection and reduction, and interpretation.


C.                To present the philosophy and technique of applying the basic laws of physics to study the internal structure of the earth and geophysical measurement of these structures.


D.                To provide familiarity with geomagnetism and paleomagnetism; geogravity and earth tides; geothermal processes; earthquake processes; distribution and crustal deformation; elastic waves; and radioactivity.


V.                 Expectation of Students:


A.                Enrollees will participate in all class meeting and will complete assigned readings and other preparation to discussions of the subject matter.


B.                 Enrollees will achieve satisfactory grades on a midterm and final exams.


VI.              Course Content:


A.                The Solar System

1.                  The planets and their orbits.

2.                  Meteorites, satellites, and asteroids.

3.                  The terrestrial plants and the Moon composition and structure.


B.                 Rotation, gravity, and earth tides.

1.                  Ellipticity and the latitudinal variation of gravity.

2.                  Precession, wobble, and irregular rotation.

3.                  Tides and tidal friction.

4.                  The geoid and isostatic compensation.

5.                  Application instrumentation, measurements, and data reduction.

6.                  Data interpretation and modeling.


C.                Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism.

1.                  The main magnetic field.

2.                  Evidence from paleomagnetism.

3.                  Applicable instrumentation and measurements.


D.                Seismicity and the pattern of crustal motion.

1.                  Scope and history of seismology.

2.                  Mechanics of earthquakes.

3.                  Geographic distribution of seismicity.


E.                 Midterm Examination.


F. Seismic waves and the structure of the earth.

1.                  Elastic waves and seismic rays.

2.                  Methods of earthquake location.

3.                  Travel times and velocity structure.

4.                  Earth models and properties of deep earth material.

5.                  Seismic instrumentation, measurements, and data reduction.

6.                  Seismic exploration and interpretation.

7.                  New Madrid Seismic Zone


G. Internal heat and the tectonic engine.

1.                  Surface heat flux.

2.                  The heat budget.

3.                  The thermodynamics of convection and convection in the mantle.

4.                  Thermal history of the mantle and cooling of the core.


H. Radioactivity, isotopic, and dating.


I.                   Final examination or oral presentation of term paper.


VII.            Basis for student evaluation:


A. Midterm examination 33%

B. Class assignments 33%

C. Final examination/term paper 34%


VIII. Office hours