Physics of Earth's Interior

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to deepen the knowledge of the physical mechanisms that regulate the dynamics of the deformation processes involving the crust-mantle system at small and large-scales, both spatial and temporal.
Expected learning outcomes
Capability to understand the physical laws that govern the processes that take place at different scales on our Planet.
Capability to solve a complex problem using appropriate mathematical tools.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
THEORY: Rheology of the Earth, at different time scales. Constitutive laws. Linear elasticity and theoretical model for perfect elasticity. Elasticity and interatomic forces. Creep diffusion and Creep dislocation. Strength of the rocks. Fragility and plasticity. Mass, energy and momentum conservation equations. Deformation energy function.

PRACTICE: exercises on a) elastic, viscoelastic and elasto-plastic flexion of the lithosphere; b) unidirectional viscous flow in a thin channel c) thermal convection; d) strenght profile in the lithosphere.
Prerequisites for admission
Good knowledge of the basic concepts of continuum mechanics.
Teaching methods
The lessons will take place on Microsoft Teams in synchronous mode (at the times established for the first semester) and will be recorded and available on the platform in asynchronous mode.

Information on how to access the lessons on Microsoft Teams will be uploaded on the ARIEL website of the course: it is recommended to consult it regularly.

In the event that, taking into account the evolution of the epidemic and in compliance with the relevant regulations, it should be possible to carry out classroom teaching activities, students will be promptly informed via ARIEL.

Lessons may also include pre-recorded material.
Teaching Resources
After each lesson, a pdf file, which contains an exhaustive presentation of the topics covered in class and which can be used as a text for the study, will be made available on the didactic web page accessible through the ARIEL portal.

Texts for further information:
G. Ranalli, Rheology of the Earth, Deformations and flow processes in geophysics and geodynamics.
D. Turcotte and G. Schubert, Geodynamics, Application of continuum physics to geological problems.

Several copies of both texts are available in the library of the Department of Earth Sciences "A. Desio".
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam will take place in written form using the Microsoft Teams platform. The exam will be aimed at verifying the student's knowledge of the physical mechanisms that regulate the dynamics of the deformation processes involving the crust-mantle system on different scales, both spatial and temporal.
The test lasts 2 hours and consists of three questions of different evaluation weight. The first question (maximum 15 points), open-ended, involves the discussion of a theoretical topic. The second question (maximum 10 points), with an open answer, involves the reproduction of one of the exercises solved during the practical lessons and the discussion of its implications. The third question (maximum 5 points), multiple choice, foresees, for 5 different questions, the selection of a single answer in a list of three and aims at verifying the knowledge of the orders of magnitude of the physical quantities used.
GEO/10 - SOLID EARTH GEOPHYSICS - University credits: 6
Practicals: 24 hours
Lessons: 32 hours
Professor: Marotta Anna Maria
every day, by appointment via e-mail
Microsoft Teams Platform