Listed in: Geology, as GEOL-351
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Plate tectonics is a quantifiable and testable paradigm for the dynamic processes of the solid earth. This course focuses on plate tectonics as the system of mantle convection and lithosphere motion that determines Earth's seismicity and volcanism; the birth of its oceans and growth of its mountain belts; and the distribution of its continental mass, and thus its tilt and rotation. Plate tectonics operates today and to a large extent determines the geologic character of surface rocks, but it also operates at significant depths in the earth and across the expanse of geologic time. Consequently, our understanding of plate tectonics will be developed using evidence from both geology and geophysics. Petrologic, geochemical and geochronologic methods will be applied to analyze the rock record. The subsurface realms of the crust and mantle are probed through seismology, gravity, magnetism and heat flow observations.Three hours of class and three hours of laboratory each week.
Prerequisite: GEOL 321; prerequisite may be taken concurrently. Spring semester. Professors Crowley and Harms.