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ESC2122 - The dynamic earth II: global processes

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Science

Leader: Dr Bruce Schaefer


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


This unit focuses on the internal structure of the Earth and what drives plate tectonics and related magmatism/volcanism. In this unit, the internal anatomy of the Earth is compared to that of other terrestrial planets. We will study how and when rocks melt, and how melts evolve into a variety of magmatic rocks. We will also study how rocks are dated and how we determine the age of the Earth and the solar system. This will be accompanied by a one day field trip and a three-day hands-on field course and practical classes introducing minerals and rocks under the microscope.


On completion of this unit, students will be able to: understand the internal structure and composition of the Earth, to understand the processes that drive where and when melting takes place on the Earth; to understand the dynamics of the earth's mantle and mantle crust relationships; to understand processes that result in variation of element and isotope abundances and how we use these to determine the age of geologic materials; to introduce mineralogy and the petrographic microscope in order to identify igneous rocks and minerals and to understand how the 3D distribution of rocks in the field relates to tectonic processes.


Two examinations (2 hours each): 50%
Practical examination: 15%
Practical/fieldwork: 35%

Contact hours

Two 1-hour lectures and three hours of practical/tutorial classes per week; a three day hands on field course and a one-day field trip.