Earth physics

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
To provide the students with a basic knowledge of the physical phenomena occurring on the Earth and on the theoretical and experimental methods to study these processes. A specific focus will be on the improvement of students' skills on the physical investigation of Earth transport phenomena, also with reference to applied and environmental issues.
Expected learning outcomes
The student will be able
1. to read and understand scientific papers and books which the themes treated during the lectures;
2. to read and evaluate technical reports for practical applications of geophysical techniques;
3. to deal with problems related to process phenomena (mass, energy, momentum, etc.) with a critical view.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Lectures will be given in synchronous telematic method, with the platform Zoom and will be recorded so that the video will be available through the web site of the course unit on the web portal of the University dedicated to teaching activities.

The syllabus and the study material will not be subject to any variation.

The oral exam will be held in telematic way, through the MS Teams platform, which can be accessed by following the instructions available on the web portal of the University.
Course syllabus
Introduction to the Earth Sciences.
Phenomenological laws for transport processes in geophysics.
Transport phenomena in the Earth: electrical charge (electrical field); ground water; energy (geothermal field); solutes; momentum (elastic field).
Potential fields: Earth's gravity and magnetic fields (basic notions about the electromagnetic field).
Prerequisites for admission
Good knowledge of classical physics.
Teaching methods
Standard lectures. Fast quizzes (multiple-choice questions) will be proposed during lectures, whereas autonomous activities will be proposed as homework between successive lectures; these activities will be performed with telematic synchronous and/or asynchronous instruments (with the platoforms Moodle or MS Teams).
Autonomous activity by students, through the preparation of a written report about the in-depth study of a topic chosen by the student among a list proposed by the teacher.
Teaching Resources
Lecture notes downloadable from
The material will be progressively moved to Moodle and will be accessible through the link

Suggested additional readings
Turcotte, D.L. & Schubert, G., 2002, Geodynamics applications of continuum physics to geological problems Second Edition Cambridge University Press.
Lowrie, W., 2007, Fundamentals of Geophysics, 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press
Telford, W.M., Geldart, L.P., & Sherriff, R.E., 1990, Applied Geophysics, 2nd Ed, Cambridge University Press.
Bear, J., 1979, Hydraulics of groundwater, McGraw-Hill.
Marsily, G. de, 1986, Quantitative Hydrogeology - Groundwater hydrology for engineers, Academic Press.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Preparation of a written report related to the in depth study of one of the topics taught during the lectures.
Oral exam (discussion of the report and questions on the topics of the lectures) to verify the acquisition of knowledge about the topics taught during lectures.
Results of quizzes (multiple-choice questions) and homework (open questions and exercises) performed during the semester will provide an additional, integrative assessment.

For the written report the assessment criteria are the ability to reinforce the knowledge of the assigned topic by reading specialistic references, the ability to describe the topic and the skill in the use of the specialistic lexicon.
For the oral exam, the assessment criteria are the ability to organize the presentation of knowledge and the mastery of the results illustrated in the report and of the topics taught during the lectures.

The final evaluation is expressed with a mark in thirtieth and accounts for the assessment of the written report and of the oral exam; the assessment of the results of quizzes and homework can give an incremental, additional bonus for the final mark.
Lessons: 42 hours
Professor: Giudici Mauro
By phone or mail appointment
via Cicognara 7