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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

J. Michael Brown
ESS 551
Seattle Campus

Mineral Physics

Applications of condensed matter physics to various geophysical problems. Topics vary, but usually include the thermal properties of relevant geophysical materials, the equation of state for the Earth's mantle and core, defects in solids and their roles in tectonophysics. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

Class description

Experimental and theoretical investigations into the physics and chemistry of earth materials with an emphasis on effects associated with high pressures and elevated temperatures. Every process within and every observation of Earth is associated with properties of the constituent materials. This course investigates the “controls” on these properties. Why do velocities, densities, conductivities, and more change with depth or lateral position? How much of the observed changes are caused by variations of pressure or temperature or composition or transformation of crystal structure? What can we predict?

Student learning goals

Be familiar with current 1-D radial and 3-D seismic “Earth Models”

Understand fundamental crystallographic and thermodynamic theory necessary to quantify the state of Earth and Earth constituents

Understand how Earth’s thermal and compositional state are constrained

Be able to calculate seismic velocities for earth constituents

Be familiar with current experimental and theoretical research tools

Be familiar with several current research topics of interest and how mineral physcis informs the discussion.

General method of instruction

Lecture and individual consultation

Recommended preparation

This graduate course assumes a solid undergraduate background in physics and chemistry. Homework is most easily accomplished using MATLAB

Class assignments and grading

Weekly homework assignments emphasize a practical application of fundamental ideas A final project requires integration of class material to address a current research question

40% weekly asignments 30% oral midterm 30% Final project


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by J. Michael Brown
Date: 01/09/2009