Courses

The listed courses below are exemplarily for the various tracks. You will design your personal curriculum based on advice and information provided particularly during the introduction week.

 

Track: Earth Materials

Structure and composition of the earth's interior

After presenting an overview of the geophysical constraints on the elastic structure and density of the Earth's interior, we will discuss the relevant elements which constitute the Earth's interior, starting from a brief summary of the origin of the Earth and cosmic abundances of elements to seismological observations and a comprehensive mineralogical description of the Earth's interior. Inside the Earth, temperatures and pressures can be become very high and profoundly affect the elastic properties and density of minerals. We give an overview of how to model the temperature and pressure dependence of the elastic properties of minerals. In the last part of course, we present a synthesized view of the Earth's interior which takes the geophysical, petrological and geochemical aspects we introduced into account.

Development of Transferable skills

  • Leadership: take responsibility in teams when when combining course literature in posters, flowcharts etc.;
  • Ability to work in teams: work with a partner on the practical and literature presentation, take responsibility;
  • Written communication skills: write a report on the practical;
  • Problem-solving skills: make all exercises in the practical;
  • Verbal communication skills: give a presentation on a scientific paper, ask and answer questions during presentations, participate in group discussions after the paper presentation;
  • Strong work ethics: keep to the deadline of handing in the practical report, be on time for presentations;
  • Initiative: each student is asked to add something from their own interests to their persentation;
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: use data analysis and modeling in the practicals;
  • Flexibility/adaptability: the students are motivated to do something extra for the presentations, such as reading a paper from their own interest adding calculations, whatever suits the specific interests of each student;
  • Technical skills: methods and research techniques are used in the practical.

Petrological and Geochemical Evolution of the Earth

  1. Introduction to geochemical and isotopic tracers in the Earth Sciences;
  2. Birth of the Earth. Earth accretion and the Moon separation event. Solar system volcanism. Short lived radiogenic isotope systems. Geochronology;
  3. Origin of terrestrial plate tectonics: the magmatic and geochemical perspective. Komatiites. TTGs. Subduction versus sagduction. Consequences of a high T mantle and thick thermal lithospheric lid;
  4. First evidence for life on Earth. The first igneous and sedimentary rock. The earliest atmosphere and oceans;
  5. Whiff's of Oxygen in the Archean. Great oxygenation event. Advanced stable isotope geochemistry;
  6. Catastrophic continental magmatic events. Eruption mechanisms, plume crust interactions and volatile emissions);
  7. Present day volcanic hazards. Acidic crater lakes and eruption styles.

The course will help to develop the following transferable skills:

  • Ability to work in a team- Presentations within a group;
  • Written communication skills- abstract and essay writing;
  • Problem-solving skills- exercises in practical classes;
  • Verbal communication skills- presentations;
  • Initiative- literature investigations;
  • Analytical/quantitative skills- exercises in practical classes;
  • Technical skills- petrography classes and rock and mineral identification skills.

Kinetic processes

  1. Rates of geochemical reactions. Rate equations, reaction mechanisms, elementary reactions, order of reactions, steady state, Arrhenius equation, principle of detailed balancing, Michaelis-Menten kinetics, heterogeneous kinetics.
  2. Theory of chemical kinetics: Collision theory, diffusion controlled reactions in solution, transition state theory, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, kinetic processes under non-hydrostatic conditions.
  3. Applications of geochemical kinetics: Mineral dissolution and growth, kinetics of microbially mediated reactions, kinetics of redox reactions, kinetics of reactions in aqueous solution, geochronology, geospeedometry.

Most of the examples discussed in the course are biogeochemical processes in aquatic environments. As part of the course, the students have to study independently chapters from the textbook Geochemical Kinetics by Y. Zhang. Students have to solve problems in the book and their solutions will be graded.

Development of Transferable Skills

  • Ability to work in the team: (Video) lectures are prepared in teams. Students have to distribute tasks, organize the workflow and are responsible for the time planning.
  • Problem solving: students receive data from (virtual) experiments and have to use different approaches to parameterize empirical rate laws.
  • Verbal communication skills: emphasis is put on transferring knowledge to non-expert audience / teaching, including the definition of teaching goals, planning a (video) lecture and preparing/presenting the lecture. Students are familiarized with techniques required to prepare video lectures.
  • Analytical / quantitative skills: analytical and numerical integration of differential equations. Solving quantitative problems related to kinetic processes.
  • Technical skills: using the computer programmes Excel, Matlab and Stella for numerical integration of differential equations.

Earth Materials: From the Atomic to Planetary Scale

  1. Recap of: Mineralogy and crystallography including bonding and electronic structure of solids, point and space groups for crystal symmetry, surface to bulk properties of materials.
  2. Introduction to advanced analytical tools including electron beam techniques, spectroscopic methods, synchrotron methods, atomic force microscopy.
  3. Introduction to modelling mineral systems.
  4. Introduction to mineral/rock-fluid interaction.
  5. Hot topics in biomineralization.
  6. Applications will be illustrated with case studies. Examples are: interfacial processes during mineral weathering, biomineralization, hydrothermal systems in solid Earth, industrial metamorphism including CO2 sequestration, nuclear waste disposal and unconventional hydrocarbons. Where possible external speakers will be invited to present cutting edge research currently conducted in different industrial sectors to study mineralogical questions.

Development of transferable skills

  • Written communications skills: The coursework of this course includes a written component, both as practical reports and a scientific abstract writing exercise in which phrasing, grammar etc is also part of the grading scheme. Students are expected to hand in a first draft on which they receive feedback on the science and writing style from the lecturers before handing in the final version.
  • Verbal communication skills: During this course we hold a mini conference linked to the abstract writing exercise. The students are given a recent scientific article covering one of the areas discussed during the course and must produce a short presentation to teach the rest of the group about the subject. Feedback is given on presentation skills by both the lecturers and the student’s peers.
  • Problem solving skills: throughout the lectures and practical sessions students are given tasks that require mathematical, kinesthetic and/or reasoning methods to approach the problems and find the solution. This includes examining/processing data.
  • Technical skills: the students are introduced to the following techniques during the course: scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM/TEM) including focused ion beam milling, infra-red and Raman spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM) and interferometry.
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: Students are given data from TEM, AFM, and Raman spectroscopy investigations to analyse during the practical assignments. The student’s use various analytical programs to analyse the data (Fityk: Raman data, Nanoscope Analysis: AFM) as well as working on paper. The students also learn how to perform models using SUPCRT, PHREEQC and PERPLEX.

Mechanisms of deformation and transport in rocks

Large scale deformation and fluid or melt transport phenomena occurring within the Earth's crust and mantle are ultimately controlled by processes operating at the micro- and mesoscopic scales. Therefore, in order to model large scale dynamic processes operating in the crust and mantle, and to interpret deformation- and transport-related structures preserved in rocks, an understanding of the mechanisms of deformation and transport that operate in Earth materials is needed.

This course addresses such mechanisms, using an advanced materials science approach. It forms a core component of the Earth Materials Track within the Master Programme Earth Structure & Dynamics (ESD). It is also a useful and frequent choice for students following other ESD tracks.

Topics covered include the following:

Part 1 – Transport Mechanisms (Lecturer = Peach):
Properties of geofluids; fluid/melt transport through rock; electrical conductivity of rock; percolation theory; Effects of deformation and microstructural change on transport properties.

Part 2 Deformation Mechanisms (Lecturer = Niemeijer):
Elastic behaviour and thermodynamics of stressed solids; Defects and diffusion; Diffusion creep, superplasticity, deformation of solid/liquid/melt systems; Dislocation dynamics and intracrystalline plastic flow; Microstructure, recrystallization and deformation fabrics; Fracture mechanics and failure of rocks and ceramics; Fault slip, friction and slip-stability; Deformation behaviour of key rock materials under crustal and mantle conditions.

Throughout the course, examples will be given of applications in Geology, Geophysics, Geo-resources and Geo-storage.

Development of Transferable Skills

  • Ability to work in the team: Students will complete mini-projects and assignments in teams of two and are encouraged to interact with other teams to discuss the problems investigated. Within this structure, students must distribute tasks and organize their workflow and time planning.
  • Written communication: Each mini-project or practical assignment results in a written product (report) that must be completed and handed in by a strict deadline..
  • Problem solving: The mini-projects, practicals and homework exercises given are extremely challenging and require creativity and imagination to envisage which processes have to be considered and how to describe them quantitatively.
  • Verbal communication skills: Students are strongly encouraged to participate in actively answering questions posed by the lecturers in class.
  • Work ethic. The deadlines for completing mini-project/practical and homework exercises are extremely strict so that worked answers can be distributed to all students but only when all students have submitted a given product. Failure to be professional in meeting these deadlines results in disqualification from the course.
  • Analytical / quantitative skills: The miniprojects/practicals and homework exercises involve breaking complex problems, in the field of deformation and transport properties, down into their component parts, first conceptually. The conceptual components must then be systematically described using suitable equations and parameter values, introduced in the lectures, to arrive at quantitative answers.

Grading of practicals/mini-projects and homework:

  • These will be continuously assessed on a pass/fail basis
  • All assignments (pr + hw) given must be completed with a “pass” to pass the course
  • Where appropriate and possible, feedback will include worked answers for self-study

Examinations and grading of the course:

  • All assignments given (practicals and homework) must be completed with a “pass” to pass the course
  • The final grade is based on two written, closed-book examinations and is calculated as follows: Mid term exam Peach 37.5% + Final exam Niemeijer 62.5%
  • The minimum pass grade (weighted average of Parts Peach and Niemeijer) for the course is 5.5 out of 10, with all assignments completed. Grades between 5.50 and 5.99 are rounded up to 6.0. A grade of 5.49 or less is a fail.
  • The right to a repair examination is granted if the unrounded average grade for Parts 1 and 2 lies between 4.00 and 5.49 and if the student has completed and obtained a pass for all assignments. Repair exams may address Part 1 (Peach) or Part 2 (Niemeijer) – students may choose which they prefer to resit (one only). After the repair exam, the final course grade is calculated as the average of the grades obtained for Parts 1 and 2, with the repaired grade updated. If the course grade obtained is 5.50 or above it will be set at 6.0, i.e. no final scores higher than 6.0 are given. If the final grade is 5.49 or less, the result is a fail and the entire course has be redone if a pass is sought.
  • The right to a repair exam is not automatic if a student is ill. De-registering for an exam or test due to illness does not automatically entitle students to take a repair test or exam. After recovery, the student must supply a doctor’s note certifying that the student was ill on the day of the test/exam. Without this, students have no right to a repair exam.

Structural analysis of deformed rocks

The course concentrates on the geometry, mechanics, kinematics and dynamics of structures developed in deformed rocks on the meso- to micro-scale (i.e. from outcrop and handspecimen to grain scale), and on how the analysis of these structures, in space and time, facilitates reconstruction of the tectonic evolution of crustal or mantle terrain.
The course is relevant for a wide range of employment opportunities. This includes general research positions in materials science or geology in industry or academia, and employment in sectors like resource exploration and production, geotechnical engineering and geological risk assessment.

The course will be given as an advanced level Structural Geology course, assuming deforming familiarity with basic characteristics and significance of deformation structures in rocks.
The course consists of three parts:

  1. Analysis of meso-scale structures: Geometric, kinematic and dynamic aspects of folds, boudinage and mullion structures, vein systems, faults and shear zones. Role of mechanical instabilities in structure development. Inversion of fault slip data to obtain principal stress orientations;
  2. Analysis of rock micro-structures;
  3. Case studies of deformed crustal and mantle terrains: Long-lived lithospheric fault/shear zones (initiation and evolution). Evolution of LP-HT metamorphic terrains. Structural analysis of mantle terrains.

Development of Transferable skills:

  • Ability to work in a team: all practical assignments are carried out in a team of two, both members having the same responsibility w.r.t. the final product;
  • Written communication skills: results of the practical assignments have to be presented in the form of a written reports (7x);
  • Problem-solving skills: None of the practical assignments have a straightforward recipe to come to the final product, but require good analysis of how to solve the questions at hand;
  • Initiative: In working on the assignments, the students cannot wait until supervision arrives, they have to take initiatives themselves to get progress;
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: application of the knowledge obtained during lectures and self study to solve problems and answer research-like questions;
  • Technical skills: use of excel, stress inversion software, optical microscopy.

Paleomagnetism

The paleomagnetism course deals with the integrated geophysical (geomagnetism, intensity of magnetic field), geochemical (rock magnetism, environmental magnetism), and geological (magnetostratigraphy and tectonic rotations) fundamentals of magnetism in Earth Sciences. Application of these techniques will be explained through practical assignments, hands-on exercises and data analyses.

Geophysical aspects: geomagnetic variations at all time scales. from secular variation, ‘tiny wiggles’ and excursions of the field, to reversals (including magnetostratigraphy), reversal frequency, ‘Superchrons’ and paleointensity reconstructions. At short time scales (100-5000 years), geomagnetic variations typically reflect core processes. Variations at longer time scales, however, must reflect mantle and core/mantle boundary processes. Hence, what do these variations tell us about processes in the internal, deep Earth?

Geochemical aspects: the magnetic carriers in rocks. How and why do rocks record the geomagnetic field? We discuss magnetism at the atomic level and link it to macroscopic properties of mineral and rock magnetism. We explain why the natural remanent magnetisation (NRM) can be geologically stable - i.e. for tens of billions of years, and how to extract this information from rock samples. This involves both laboratory and field tests, and we discuss how rocks acquire their NRM.

Geological aspects: stratigraphic and geodynamic applications: There are applications of paleomagnetism and rock magnetism in a wide range of earths scientific disciplines. Time Scales: the role of accurate dating is crucial in Earth Sciences, and, here, magnetostratigraphy forms a powerful part of the dating toolbox. It can be used in combination with other dating methods, of which astrochronology is the one providing highest accuracy and precision. Applications of time scales have a wide range: from determining changes in (paleo)environment and (paleo)climate (and the corresponding influence on mineral magnetic changes in sediments) to dating tectonic phases and climate change, and their respective impacts on the geological archive. Geodynamic applications, from the scale of continents to regional studies: block rotations and crustal movement, paleomagnetic poles and apparent polar wander (APWP), hotspot versus paleomagnetic reference frames. In some case studies, there will be emphasis on the recognition of tectonic versus climatic processes in the development of sedimentary basins.

Program and approach
The first part of the course will be directed to a combinaton of lectures, excercises and scientific class discussions including presentations by students. Different topics will include: Geomagnetism, Statistics and models, Rock magnetism, Paleointensity, Tectonics and Magnetostratigraphy. The second part of the course will deal with selecting new research topics which will be evaluated by writing a 4 page scientific proposal of the student’s own topic of (paleomagnetic) interest and an oral presentation defending the proposal for the class audience. Students will be informed about key papers, practical exercises or assignments, and the approach at the beginning of and during the course.

Assessment and grading

  • Written Exam 60%
  • Scientific proposal 40%

Place in curriculum
The course Paleomagnetism is highly recommended for students of the master programme Earth, Structure and Dynamics, tracks 1) Basins, orogens and the crust-lithosphere system, 2) Earth materials, 3) Physics of the deep Earth and planets and the programme Earth, Life and Climate, track Integrated stratigraphy and sedimentary systems. The course is meant for students who are particularly interested in the fundamentals and applications of the geomagnetic field and its registration in the rock record.

Development of Transferable Skills

  • Ability to work in the team: students will work in small teams on a literature topic that should be jointly presented in class and submitted as written document.
  • Written communication skills: students will write their own research proposal that will be evaluated on the topics of quality, innovation and feasibility.
  • Verbal communication skills: students will have to present and defend their research proposal in an oral communication for a broad scientific audience.
  • Analytical /quantitative skills: analytical expertise will be obtained during topical computer exercises.
  • Technical skills: using the computer programmes Excel, and several paleomagnetic programs available on Paleomagnetism.org.
  • Problem solving: several case studies must be solved during the exercises and different approaches will have to be used to solve these research problems.
  • Initiative: students will have to define, elaborate and solve their own research question; all to be worked out in detail in an individual research proposal.

Applied Geophysics

Geophysical techniques are widely used in civil engineering, in environmental monitoring and in oil and mineral prospecting. We will take a problem-driven approach by looking at the technical challenges underpinning each application/industry, and studying the geophysical approaches used to address these challenges. Throughout the course, we will give an overview of the classical and state-of-the art geophysical methods, including potential field, seismic methods and ground penetrating radar. The course will review the basic physical principles underlying the various exploration techniques, together with practical elements such as how geophysical data are acquired, processed and interpreted. During practicals the students will solve a range of didactic and realistic problems (computer practicals), as well as conduct group-based research into geophysical literature and convert it into short oral presentations for class discussions. Students will acquire an appreciation for which techniques are appropriate for which application, together with a realistic understanding of the capabilities and limitations of different geophysical methods. There will also be seismic field work during the course.

Field research instruction geology

Approximately the month of June is reserved for a research-oriented fieldwork in the Betic Cordillera, southern Spain for students that choose to incorporate a field activity in their master-programme. For students entering in September, this will be at the end of year 4 (year 1 of the masterprogramme).
The course will usually start with a short introductory excursion aiming to give an overview of the regional geology relevant to the area of study.
Subsequently, independent field research will be carried out with a focus on either geodynamic (structural geology, metamorphic geology, petrology), or on environmental/climate related topics (sedimentology, stratigraphy, paleontology, biogeology). The exact objectives of the field research (i.e. the research question to be answered), the area of focus (the mapping area) and the scientific approach (the applied methods) will be defined via discussion with the staff members involved. Objectives, area and approach will be different for every team.

Development of Transferable skills:

  • Ability to work in a team: the field work is carried out in a team of two students, both members having the same responsibility w.r.t. the final product ;
  • Written communication skills: results of the field work has to be presented in the form of a written report, journal paper style;
  • Strong work ethic: collecting data in the field has to be done with full respect for nature, wildlife and the demands of local land owners and users;
  • Problem-solving skills: Fieldwork typically requires that problems are solved that were not anticipated before, and that strategies are adjusted;
  • Initiative: the students largely work independently so cannot wait until supervision arrives, they have to take initiatives themselves to get progress;
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: knowledge and skills obtained during regular intramural classes have to be applied to answer typical field-related research questions;
  • Flexibility. adaptability: Field projects typically require continuous adaption of strategy depending on the data collected;
  • Technical skills: use of GPS and digital mapping, sample collection and separation, software like stress inversion software, Stereonet orientation analysis, digital logging.

Programme and Schedule:
Travel and field work: end of May - end of June
Report: end of first week of July
Returned with feedback: beginning of first week of September
Revised report handed in: end of third week of September
Please note: Registration for this course only during the first registration period.

Advanced structural-metamorphic petrology and mineralogy

The interpretation of geological fieldwork results from high grade metamorphic terranes depends strongly on subsequent laboratory studies performed on rock samples collected during fieldwork. During this course the student will learn the theoretical and practical basics related to the usage of such equipment (electron microprobe (EPMA), scanning electron microscope (SEM), transmission electron microscope (TEM), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), atomic force microscope (AFM) and laser ablation (LA) ICP-MS) and what to do to get the required laboratory data needed to interprete his/her (future?) fieldwork results. In addition theoretical metamorphic/mineral concepts that are needed to derive interpretations from the equipment data set(s) will be shortly outlined.Crust-mantle interactions during orogeny/mountain forming processes may differ through time. In other words what happens with the lower crust and upper mantle during orogeny/continental collision or how can we reconstruct these interactions in old orogens like the Variscides and the Caledonides. This will be the major research theme during this course. Studies involving the continental Moho generally make use of seismic techniques but here you will learn how to study this interface directly from field data.The course will be centered on two contrasting diamond-bearing (ultra)high pressure metamorphic terranes: The Western Gneiss Region of Norway and Seve Nappe Complex, central Sweden. Rock samples and thin sections from both terranes will be available to the students for practical purposes and self study using optical microscopy techniques. In addition and step by step the student will learn about 1) the theories and techniques/equipments needed to understand why these two (U)HP terranes are so fundamentally different and 2) how the small scale information (micro- and meso scale) can be used to reconstruct tectonometamorphic models.Theoretical aspects will include: thermobarometry, monazite age dating, fluid/multi-phase solid inclusions, petrofabrics, metamorphic facies / isoploths, PTt paths, exhumation

Track: Physics of the Solid Earth and Planets

Structure and composition of the earth's interior

After presenting an overview of the geophysical constraints on the elastic structure and density of the Earth's interior, we will discuss the relevant elements which constitute the Earth's interior, starting from a brief summary of the origin of the Earth and cosmic abundances of elements to seismological observations and a comprehensive mineralogical description of the Earth's interior. Inside the Earth, temperatures and pressures can be become very high and profoundly affect the elastic properties and density of minerals. We give an overview of how to model the temperature and pressure dependence of the elastic properties of minerals. In the last part of course, we present a synthesized view of the Earth's interior which takes the geophysical, petrological and geochemical aspects we introduced into account.

Development of Transferable skills

  • Leadership: take responsibility in teams when when combining course literature in posters, flowcharts etc.;
  • Ability to work in teams: work with a partner on the practical and literature presentation, take responsibility;
  • Written communication skills: write a report on the practical;
  • Problem-solving skills: make all exercises in the practical;
  • Verbal communication skills: give a presentation on a scientific paper, ask and answer questions during presentations, participate in group discussions after the paper presentation;
  • Strong work ethics: keep to the deadline of handing in the practical report, be on time for presentations;
  • Initiative: each student is asked to add something from their own interests to their persentation;
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: use data analysis and modeling in the practicals;
  • Flexibility/adaptability: the students are motivated to do something extra for the presentations, such as reading a paper from their own interest adding calculations, whatever suits the specific interests of each student;
  • Technical skills: methods and research techniques are used in the practical.

Structural analysis of deformed rocks

The course concentrates on the geometry, mechanics, kinematics and dynamics of structures developed in deformed rocks on the meso- to micro-scale (i.e. from outcrop and handspecimen to grain scale), and on how the analysis of these structures, in space and time, facilitates reconstruction of the tectonic evolution of crustal or mantle terrain.
The course is relevant for a wide range of employment opportunities. This includes general research positions in materials science or geology in industry or academia, and employment in sectors like resource exploration and production, geotechnical engineering and geological risk assessment.

The course will be given as an advanced level Structural Geology course, assuming deforming familiarity with basic characteristics and significance of deformation structures in rocks.
The course consists of three parts:

  1. Analysis of meso-scale structures: Geometric, kinematic and dynamic aspects of folds, boudinage and mullion structures, vein systems, faults and shear zones. Role of mechanical instabilities in structure development. Inversion of fault slip data to obtain principal stress orientations;
  2. Analysis of rock micro-structures;
  3. Case studies of deformed crustal and mantle terrains: Long-lived lithospheric fault/shear zones (initiation and evolution). Evolution of LP-HT metamorphic terrains. Structural analysis of mantle terrains.

Development of Transferable skills:

  • Ability to work in a team: all practical assignments are carried out in a team of two, both members having the same responsibility w.r.t. the final product;
  • Written communication skills: results of the practical assignments have to be presented in the form of a written reports (7x);
  • Problem-solving skills: None of the practical assignments have a straightforward recipe to come to the final product, but require good analysis of how to solve the questions at hand;
  • Initiative: In working on the assignments, the students cannot wait until supervision arrives, they have to take initiatives themselves to get progress;
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: application of the knowledge obtained during lectures and self study to solve problems and answer research-like questions;
  • Technical skills: use of excel, stress inversion software, optical microscopy.

Paleomagnetism

The paleomagnetism course deals with the integrated geophysical (geomagnetism, intensity of magnetic field), geochemical (rock magnetism, environmental magnetism), and geological (magnetostratigraphy and tectonic rotations) fundamentals of magnetism in Earth Sciences. Application of these techniques will be explained through practical assignments, hands-on exercises and data analyses.

Geophysical aspects: geomagnetic variations at all time scales. from secular variation, ‘tiny wiggles’ and excursions of the field, to reversals (including magnetostratigraphy), reversal frequency, ‘Superchrons’ and paleointensity reconstructions. At short time scales (100-5000 years), geomagnetic variations typically reflect core processes. Variations at longer time scales, however, must reflect mantle and core/mantle boundary processes. Hence, what do these variations tell us about processes in the internal, deep Earth?

Geochemical aspects: the magnetic carriers in rocks. How and why do rocks record the geomagnetic field? We discuss magnetism at the atomic level and link it to macroscopic properties of mineral and rock magnetism. We explain why the natural remanent magnetisation (NRM) can be geologically stable - i.e. for tens of billions of years, and how to extract this information from rock samples. This involves both laboratory and field tests, and we discuss how rocks acquire their NRM.

Geological aspects: stratigraphic and geodynamic applications: There are applications of paleomagnetism and rock magnetism in a wide range of earths scientific disciplines. Time Scales: the role of accurate dating is crucial in Earth Sciences, and, here, magnetostratigraphy forms a powerful part of the dating toolbox. It can be used in combination with other dating methods, of which astrochronology is the one providing highest accuracy and precision. Applications of time scales have a wide range: from determining changes in (paleo)environment and (paleo)climate (and the corresponding influence on mineral magnetic changes in sediments) to dating tectonic phases and climate change, and their respective impacts on the geological archive. Geodynamic applications, from the scale of continents to regional studies: block rotations and crustal movement, paleomagnetic poles and apparent polar wander (APWP), hotspot versus paleomagnetic reference frames. In some case studies, there will be emphasis on the recognition of tectonic versus climatic processes in the development of sedimentary basins.

Program and approach
The first part of the course will be directed to a combinaton of lectures, excercises and scientific class discussions including presentations by students. Different topics will include: Geomagnetism, Statistics and models, Rock magnetism, Paleointensity, Tectonics and Magnetostratigraphy. The second part of the course will deal with selecting new research topics which will be evaluated by writing a 4 page scientific proposal of the student’s own topic of (paleomagnetic) interest and an oral presentation defending the proposal for the class audience. Students will be informed about key papers, practical exercises or assignments, and the approach at the beginning of and during the course.

Assessment and grading

  • Written Exam 60%
  • Scientific proposal 40%

Place in curriculum
The course Paleomagnetism is highly recommended for students of the master programme Earth, Structure and Dynamics, tracks 1) Basins, orogens and the crust-lithosphere system, 2) Earth materials, 3) Physics of the deep Earth and planets and the programme Earth, Life and Climate, track Integrated stratigraphy and sedimentary systems. The course is meant for students who are particularly interested in the fundamentals and applications of the geomagnetic field and its registration in the rock record.

Development of Transferable Skills

  • Ability to work in the team: students will work in small teams on a literature topic that should be jointly presented in class and submitted as written document.
  • Written communication skills: students will write their own research proposal that will be evaluated on the topics of quality, innovation and feasibility.
  • Verbal communication skills: students will have to present and defend their research proposal in an oral communication for a broad scientific audience.
  • Analytical /quantitative skills: analytical expertise will be obtained during topical computer exercises.
  • Technical skills: using the computer programmes Excel, and several paleomagnetic programs available on Paleomagnetism.org.
  • Problem solving: several case studies must be solved during the exercises and different approaches will have to be used to solve these research problems.
  • Initiative: students will have to define, elaborate and solve their own research question; all to be worked out in detail in an individual research proposal.

Applied Geophysics

Geophysical techniques are widely used in civil engineering, in environmental monitoring and in oil and mineral prospecting. We will take a problem-driven approach by looking at the technical challenges underpinning each application/industry, and studying the geophysical approaches used to address these challenges. Throughout the course, we will give an overview of the classical and state-of-the art geophysical methods, including potential field, seismic methods and ground penetrating radar. The course will review the basic physical principles underlying the various exploration techniques, together with practical elements such as how geophysical data are acquired, processed and interpreted. During practicals the students will solve a range of didactic and realistic problems (computer practicals), as well as conduct group-based research into geophysical literature and convert it into short oral presentations for class discussions. Students will acquire an appreciation for which techniques are appropriate for which application, together with a realistic understanding of the capabilities and limitations of different geophysical methods. There will also be seismic field work during the course.

Field research instruction geology

Approximately the month of June is reserved for a research-oriented fieldwork in the Betic Cordillera, southern Spain for students that choose to incorporate a field activity in their master-programme. For students entering in September, this will be at the end of year 4 (year 1 of the masterprogramme).
The course will usually start with a short introductory excursion aiming to give an overview of the regional geology relevant to the area of study.
Subsequently, independent field research will be carried out with a focus on either geodynamic (structural geology, metamorphic geology, petrology), or on environmental/climate related topics (sedimentology, stratigraphy, paleontology, biogeology). The exact objectives of the field research (i.e. the research question to be answered), the area of focus (the mapping area) and the scientific approach (the applied methods) will be defined via discussion with the staff members involved. Objectives, area and approach will be different for every team.

Development of Transferable skills:

  • Ability to work in a team: the field work is carried out in a team of two students, both members having the same responsibility w.r.t. the final product ;
  • Written communication skills: results of the field work has to be presented in the form of a written report, journal paper style;
  • Strong work ethic: collecting data in the field has to be done with full respect for nature, wildlife and the demands of local land owners and users;
  • Problem-solving skills: Fieldwork typically requires that problems are solved that were not anticipated before, and that strategies are adjusted;
  • Initiative: the students largely work independently so cannot wait until supervision arrives, they have to take initiatives themselves to get progress;
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: knowledge and skills obtained during regular intramural classes have to be applied to answer typical field-related research questions;
  • Flexibility. adaptability: Field projects typically require continuous adaption of strategy depending on the data collected;
  • Technical skills: use of GPS and digital mapping, sample collection and separation, software like stress inversion software, Stereonet orientation analysis, digital logging.

Programme and Schedule:
Travel and field work: end of May - end of June
Report: end of first week of July
Returned with feedback: beginning of first week of September
Revised report handed in: end of third week of September
Please note: Registration for this course only during the first registration period.

Dataprocessing and Inverse Theory

Geophysics often requires the analysis of measured data. Raw data can hide the specific information one is interested in and prior data processing is necessary. We will review the fundamentals of geophysical data processing, starting with a detailed description of how to sample continuous functions, then progressing to the corresponding discrete Fourier transform. We will introduce the important concept of convolution and present linear filter theory. In the following, simple linear inverse theory will be discussed and the classical least squares and minimum norm problem will be introduced. We will show how to design optimal filters using basic inverse theory. During the course and computer practicals, examples will be taken from various fields of geophysics.

Theoretical Seismology

  • basic theorems in dynamic elasticity
  • representation of the seismic source and seismic interferometry
  • elastic wave propagation:
    • wave potentials
    • wave excitation from a point source
    • ray theory
    • surface waves
    • seismic anisotropy
    • seismic attenuation.

Development of Transferable skills:

  • Written communication skills: write clearly and legibly the answers to the problems and exercises;
  • Problem-solving skills: make all the numerical exercises in the problem classes;
  • Strong work ethics: keep to the deadlines of handing in the exercises, work systematically on the exercises;
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: solve analytical and numerical problems, using physics and mathematics, including differentiation, integration, Fourier analysis, solving differential equations, vector calculus, linear algebra.

Tectonophysics

.The course focuses on the physical aspects of plate tectonics and geological processes in its broadest sense, and on a wide range of scales. There is a strong emphasis on analytical (but also on numerical) models, and on geophysical, geodetic and geological observations that constrain these models: e.g., seismic velocity structure, seismicity, gravity, geoid, sea level, heat flow, stress indicators, paleo-magnetic and geological data, geodesy. The course involves careful study of selected research papers. The course consists of two classes of topics:

  • General processes in the Earth's crust/lithosphere. A selection of relevant topics in this context are: heat flow and geotherm in the lithosphere and upper mantle; rheology of the lithosphere; forces that drive the motion and deformation of the lithosphere, stress; lithosphere-asthenosphere coupling; isostasy, flexure, dynamic topography, sea level and topography.
  • Plate boundary processes and plate boundary evolution. Topics are the earthquake cycle; volcano deformation; dynamics of subduction, deformation in convergent plate boundary regions, thermal-dynamic aspects of continental collision and orogenic processes. Extensional processes: oceanic spreading and transforms, formation and evolution of rifts, back-arc basins, passive margins and sedimentary basins; Ephemeral plate tectonics and their geological imprints (initiation of subduction, triple junctions).

Assessments and grading
(a) Requirements for a positive course result

  • Active participation in the course.

(b) Course mark.
The final grade is composed of the following components:

  • Final test 75%
  • One intermediate test, contributing 25% to the final grade

There is no opportunity to retake the intermediate test, even if the student has a legitimate reason for not attending the test.
Final course mark: The final course grade will be satisfactory (pass) or unsatisfactory (fail), expressed in numbers, 6 or higher and 5 or lower respectively. The final grade will be rounded off to one digit. A final course grade of 5 will not have any decimal places; an average grade of 4.50-5.49 is unsatisfactory, an average grade of 5.50-5.99 becomes a 6.

(c) Repair.
The student is eligible to a single repair assignment during the current academic year if she/he has fulfilled the following requirements:

  • all the above course obligations, but the final grade is a 4 or a 5,
  • all additional requirements as stated in the “Master AW OER”.

The result of the repair assignment replaces the final grade (i.e., including the results of the intermediate test).
Professional skills acquired during this course
There is a strong focus on confronting observations with the outcomes of analytical models, contributing to quantitative & problem-solving skills. Another focus is on scientific reading, which adds to writing skills.

This course is the entry requirement for MSC thesis in tectonophysics, LAFEM course.

Dynamics of the earth's mantle

Mantle processes (e.g. deep mantle flow, plate tectonics & subduction ) drive surface change not only on geological time scales (oceanic basins and continental platforms, sedimentary basin formation, mountain building, plate boundary deformation, genesis of natural resources, ….) but also on the human time scale (natural disasters as earthquakes & volcanoes, sea level change, stability/mobility of the crust, …). In this course, the focus is on how we can study mantle dynamics from a mathematical-physical point of view. This will give students the proper entry to scientific papers on the subject and constitutes the proper basis for follow up courses in computational geophysics and guided research or master research in mantle dynamics. The lectures are accompanied by an exercise class and a computer practical.
Part 1: The course starts with a qualitative summary of current views on mantle convection in the Earth, which includes inferences on the style of mantle flow as "observed" with seismic tomography. The course continues with a brief review of continuum mechanics and rheology followed by a mathematical-physical treatment leading to the basic equations describing the dynamics of the crust-mantle system. This also encompasses a derivation of the energy (heat, Temperature) equation from first principles. Next the steps are made toward real-Earth application encompassing basic approximations, and scaling of differential equations leading to non-dimensional quantities with important coefficients, such as the Rayleigh number that characterize the style of flow and dynamics. The last subject is a treatment of linear stability analysis leading to a solution of the onset-of-convection problem. This more theoretical part is supported by extensive handout includes many exercises.
Part 2: The second part of the course concerns the practical scientific implementation of the basic theory for studies of crust-mantle dynamics. This comprises the step from mantle dynamics theory to numerical modelling and particular topics of application and discussion of scientific papers from the recent literature. This part ends with the presentation by students on various topics of choice, e.g. generation of mantle plumes, thermo-chemical convection, plates, subduction & convection, interaction between mantle flow and slab subduction, surface evolution and mantle dynamics, dynamics topography, ..., all based on recent literature. This final seminar will be cast as a typical conference session.

Part 3: In parallel with Part 2, students are actively getting experience in a computerlab dealing with e.g. the basics of thermal convection and solid-state phase transitions in mantle.
Grading
The final mark results from a normal weighed average of the results of 3 parts with the following weights:

  • Part 1: 50% of the final mark.
  • Part 2: 30% of the final mark.
  • Part 3: 20% of the final mark.

For each part at least a 4.0 must be scored but the final mark must be a 5.5 or higher to pass the course.
In part 1 the students will be primarily tested on their mathematical-physical understanding of the quantitative formulation underlying mantle convection. Particularly, in parts 2 and 3 the students will be tested and graded on their ability in critical and analytical reasoning, on creativity in building sensible connections between the topics treated and other topics in mantle dynamics and the broader earth sciences. The exercise and computerlab also assesses students creativity in constructing solution strategies, in solving problems and on providing proper argumentation for solutions found.

Development of transferable skills:
Ability to work in a team: students work in teams of two for preparation and presentation of materials and presentations
Written communication skills: Students are expected to hand in a report per team about the computer practicals.
Verbal communication skills: at the end of the course a student “conference” is organized in which each students presents a recent paper from the literature within 12 minutes, as in real scientific meetings
Problem-solving skills: exercises and computer practicals are generally challenging the students to further develop or devise new problem solving strategies
Initiative: the closing student “conference” promotes personal initiative to browse the scientific literature for additional information and for developing a critical attitude
Analytical/quantitative skills: the course develops quantitative skills for assessing geodynamic problems
Flexibility/adaptability: some of the lecture materials draws from a wide range of (computational) geodynamics and (geo)physics topics and is intended to be thought provoking and trigger the student curiosity.
Technical skills: The course computer practical sessions make use of the Linux operating system. Students have to modify, compile a computer code, gather data and plot them with the Gnuplot and Paraview softwares.

Computational Geophysics

Numerical solution of the important partial differential equations in geophysics.

Finite difference and finite element methods for:
- the Stokes equation for creeping viscous flow;
- thermo-mechanically coupled systems;
- convection of fluids with a nonlinear power-law rheology;
- the convection-diffusion equation.

Hands-on experience will be obtained through a set of geophysical modelling problems.

Transferable skills:
1. Written communication skills: Results are presented in reports.
2. Problem-solving skills: students are presented with complex ODE’s and PDE’s and are expected to implement the techniques presented during the lectures. This involves a thorough attention to detail and detective work to find bugs/come with solutions.
3. Analytical/quantitative skills: this course is very technical in nature and requires a high level of abstraction from the student.
4. Technical skills: students will develop their programming skills on a set of increasingly complex and abstract problems.

Track: Basins, Orogens and the Crust-Lithosphere System

Structure and composition of the earth's interior

After presenting an overview of the geophysical constraints on the elastic structure and density of the Earth's interior, we will discuss the relevant elements which constitute the Earth's interior, starting from a brief summary of the origin of the Earth and cosmic abundances of elements to seismological observations and a comprehensive mineralogical description of the Earth's interior. Inside the Earth, temperatures and pressures can be become very high and profoundly affect the elastic properties and density of minerals. We give an overview of how to model the temperature and pressure dependence of the elastic properties of minerals. In the last part of course, we present a synthesized view of the Earth's interior which takes the geophysical, petrological and geochemical aspects we introduced into account.

Development of Transferable skills

  • Leadership: take responsibility in teams when when combining course literature in posters, flowcharts etc.;
  • Ability to work in teams: work with a partner on the practical and literature presentation, take responsibility;
  • Written communication skills: write a report on the practical;
  • Problem-solving skills: make all exercises in the practical;
  • Verbal communication skills: give a presentation on a scientific paper, ask and answer questions during presentations, participate in group discussions after the paper presentation;
  • Strong work ethics: keep to the deadline of handing in the practical report, be on time for presentations;
  • Initiative: each student is asked to add something from their own interests to their persentation;
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: use data analysis and modeling in the practicals;
  • Flexibility/adaptability: the students are motivated to do something extra for the presentations, such as reading a paper from their own interest adding calculations, whatever suits the specific interests of each student;
  • Technical skills: methods and research techniques are used in the practical.

Structural analysis of deformed rocks

The course concentrates on the geometry, mechanics, kinematics and dynamics of structures developed in deformed rocks on the meso- to micro-scale (i.e. from outcrop and handspecimen to grain scale), and on how the analysis of these structures, in space and time, facilitates reconstruction of the tectonic evolution of crustal or mantle terrain.
The course is relevant for a wide range of employment opportunities. This includes general research positions in materials science or geology in industry or academia, and employment in sectors like resource exploration and production, geotechnical engineering and geological risk assessment.

The course will be given as an advanced level Structural Geology course, assuming deforming familiarity with basic characteristics and significance of deformation structures in rocks.
The course consists of three parts:

  1. Analysis of meso-scale structures: Geometric, kinematic and dynamic aspects of folds, boudinage and mullion structures, vein systems, faults and shear zones. Role of mechanical instabilities in structure development. Inversion of fault slip data to obtain principal stress orientations;
  2. Analysis of rock micro-structures;
  3. Case studies of deformed crustal and mantle terrains: Long-lived lithospheric fault/shear zones (initiation and evolution). Evolution of LP-HT metamorphic terrains. Structural analysis of mantle terrains.

Development of Transferable skills:

  • Ability to work in a team: all practical assignments are carried out in a team of two, both members having the same responsibility w.r.t. the final product;
  • Written communication skills: results of the practical assignments have to be presented in the form of a written reports (7x);
  • Problem-solving skills: None of the practical assignments have a straightforward recipe to come to the final product, but require good analysis of how to solve the questions at hand;
  • Initiative: In working on the assignments, the students cannot wait until supervision arrives, they have to take initiatives themselves to get progress;
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: application of the knowledge obtained during lectures and self study to solve problems and answer research-like questions;
  • Technical skills: use of excel, stress inversion software, optical microscopy.

Paleomagnetism

The paleomagnetism course deals with the integrated geophysical (geomagnetism, intensity of magnetic field), geochemical (rock magnetism, environmental magnetism), and geological (magnetostratigraphy and tectonic rotations) fundamentals of magnetism in Earth Sciences. Application of these techniques will be explained through practical assignments, hands-on exercises and data analyses.

Geophysical aspects: geomagnetic variations at all time scales. from secular variation, ‘tiny wiggles’ and excursions of the field, to reversals (including magnetostratigraphy), reversal frequency, ‘Superchrons’ and paleointensity reconstructions. At short time scales (100-5000 years), geomagnetic variations typically reflect core processes. Variations at longer time scales, however, must reflect mantle and core/mantle boundary processes. Hence, what do these variations tell us about processes in the internal, deep Earth?

Geochemical aspects: the magnetic carriers in rocks. How and why do rocks record the geomagnetic field? We discuss magnetism at the atomic level and link it to macroscopic properties of mineral and rock magnetism. We explain why the natural remanent magnetisation (NRM) can be geologically stable - i.e. for tens of billions of years, and how to extract this information from rock samples. This involves both laboratory and field tests, and we discuss how rocks acquire their NRM.

Geological aspects: stratigraphic and geodynamic applications: There are applications of paleomagnetism and rock magnetism in a wide range of earths scientific disciplines. Time Scales: the role of accurate dating is crucial in Earth Sciences, and, here, magnetostratigraphy forms a powerful part of the dating toolbox. It can be used in combination with other dating methods, of which astrochronology is the one providing highest accuracy and precision. Applications of time scales have a wide range: from determining changes in (paleo)environment and (paleo)climate (and the corresponding influence on mineral magnetic changes in sediments) to dating tectonic phases and climate change, and their respective impacts on the geological archive. Geodynamic applications, from the scale of continents to regional studies: block rotations and crustal movement, paleomagnetic poles and apparent polar wander (APWP), hotspot versus paleomagnetic reference frames. In some case studies, there will be emphasis on the recognition of tectonic versus climatic processes in the development of sedimentary basins.

Program and approach
The first part of the course will be directed to a combinaton of lectures, excercises and scientific class discussions including presentations by students. Different topics will include: Geomagnetism, Statistics and models, Rock magnetism, Paleointensity, Tectonics and Magnetostratigraphy. The second part of the course will deal with selecting new research topics which will be evaluated by writing a 4 page scientific proposal of the student’s own topic of (paleomagnetic) interest and an oral presentation defending the proposal for the class audience. Students will be informed about key papers, practical exercises or assignments, and the approach at the beginning of and during the course.

Assessment and grading

  • Written Exam 60%
  • Scientific proposal 40%

Place in curriculum
The course Paleomagnetism is highly recommended for students of the master programme Earth, Structure and Dynamics, tracks 1) Basins, orogens and the crust-lithosphere system, 2) Earth materials, 3) Physics of the deep Earth and planets and the programme Earth, Life and Climate, track Integrated stratigraphy and sedimentary systems. The course is meant for students who are particularly interested in the fundamentals and applications of the geomagnetic field and its registration in the rock record.

Development of Transferable Skills

  • Ability to work in the team: students will work in small teams on a literature topic that should be jointly presented in class and submitted as written document.
  • Written communication skills: students will write their own research proposal that will be evaluated on the topics of quality, innovation and feasibility.
  • Verbal communication skills: students will have to present and defend their research proposal in an oral communication for a broad scientific audience.
  • Analytical /quantitative skills: analytical expertise will be obtained during topical computer exercises.
  • Technical skills: using the computer programmes Excel, and several paleomagnetic programs available on Paleomagnetism.org.
  • Problem solving: several case studies must be solved during the exercises and different approaches will have to be used to solve these research problems.
  • Initiative: students will have to define, elaborate and solve their own research question; all to be worked out in detail in an individual research proposal.

Applied Geophysics

Geophysical techniques are widely used in civil engineering, in environmental monitoring and in oil and mineral prospecting. We will take a problem-driven approach by looking at the technical challenges underpinning each application/industry, and studying the geophysical approaches used to address these challenges. Throughout the course, we will give an overview of the classical and state-of-the art geophysical methods, including potential field, seismic methods and ground penetrating radar. The course will review the basic physical principles underlying the various exploration techniques, together with practical elements such as how geophysical data are acquired, processed and interpreted. During practicals the students will solve a range of didactic and realistic problems (computer practicals), as well as conduct group-based research into geophysical literature and convert it into short oral presentations for class discussions. Students will acquire an appreciation for which techniques are appropriate for which application, together with a realistic understanding of the capabilities and limitations of different geophysical methods. There will also be seismic field work during the course.

Field research instruction geology

Approximately the month of June is reserved for a research-oriented fieldwork in the Betic Cordillera, southern Spain for students that choose to incorporate a field activity in their master-programme. For students entering in September, this will be at the end of year 4 (year 1 of the masterprogramme).
The course will usually start with a short introductory excursion aiming to give an overview of the regional geology relevant to the area of study.
Subsequently, independent field research will be carried out with a focus on either geodynamic (structural geology, metamorphic geology, petrology), or on environmental/climate related topics (sedimentology, stratigraphy, paleontology, biogeology). The exact objectives of the field research (i.e. the research question to be answered), the area of focus (the mapping area) and the scientific approach (the applied methods) will be defined via discussion with the staff members involved. Objectives, area and approach will be different for every team.

Development of Transferable skills:

  • Ability to work in a team: the field work is carried out in a team of two students, both members having the same responsibility w.r.t. the final product ;
  • Written communication skills: results of the field work has to be presented in the form of a written report, journal paper style;
  • Strong work ethic: collecting data in the field has to be done with full respect for nature, wildlife and the demands of local land owners and users;
  • Problem-solving skills: Fieldwork typically requires that problems are solved that were not anticipated before, and that strategies are adjusted;
  • Initiative: the students largely work independently so cannot wait until supervision arrives, they have to take initiatives themselves to get progress;
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: knowledge and skills obtained during regular intramural classes have to be applied to answer typical field-related research questions;
  • Flexibility. adaptability: Field projects typically require continuous adaption of strategy depending on the data collected;
  • Technical skills: use of GPS and digital mapping, sample collection and separation, software like stress inversion software, Stereonet orientation analysis, digital logging.

Programme and Schedule:
Travel and field work: end of May - end of June
Report: end of first week of July
Returned with feedback: beginning of first week of September
Revised report handed in: end of third week of September
Please note: Registration for this course only during the first registration period.

Tectonophysics

.The course focuses on the physical aspects of plate tectonics and geological processes in its broadest sense, and on a wide range of scales. There is a strong emphasis on analytical (but also on numerical) models, and on geophysical, geodetic and geological observations that constrain these models: e.g., seismic velocity structure, seismicity, gravity, geoid, sea level, heat flow, stress indicators, paleo-magnetic and geological data, geodesy. The course involves careful study of selected research papers. The course consists of two classes of topics:

  • General processes in the Earth's crust/lithosphere. A selection of relevant topics in this context are: heat flow and geotherm in the lithosphere and upper mantle; rheology of the lithosphere; forces that drive the motion and deformation of the lithosphere, stress; lithosphere-asthenosphere coupling; isostasy, flexure, dynamic topography, sea level and topography.
  • Plate boundary processes and plate boundary evolution. Topics are the earthquake cycle; volcano deformation; dynamics of subduction, deformation in convergent plate boundary regions, thermal-dynamic aspects of continental collision and orogenic processes. Extensional processes: oceanic spreading and transforms, formation and evolution of rifts, back-arc basins, passive margins and sedimentary basins; Ephemeral plate tectonics and their geological imprints (initiation of subduction, triple junctions).

Assessments and grading
(a) Requirements for a positive course result

  • Active participation in the course.

(b) Course mark.
The final grade is composed of the following components:

  • Final test 75%
  • One intermediate test, contributing 25% to the final grade

There is no opportunity to retake the intermediate test, even if the student has a legitimate reason for not attending the test.
Final course mark: The final course grade will be satisfactory (pass) or unsatisfactory (fail), expressed in numbers, 6 or higher and 5 or lower respectively. The final grade will be rounded off to one digit. A final course grade of 5 will not have any decimal places; an average grade of 4.50-5.49 is unsatisfactory, an average grade of 5.50-5.99 becomes a 6.

(c) Repair.
The student is eligible to a single repair assignment during the current academic year if she/he has fulfilled the following requirements:

  • all the above course obligations, but the final grade is a 4 or a 5,
  • all additional requirements as stated in the “Master AW OER”.

The result of the repair assignment replaces the final grade (i.e., including the results of the intermediate test).
Professional skills acquired during this course
There is a strong focus on confronting observations with the outcomes of analytical models, contributing to quantitative & problem-solving skills. Another focus is on scientific reading, which adds to writing skills.

This course is the entry requirement for MSC thesis in tectonophysics, LAFEM course.

Dynamics of Basins and Orogens

Specific objectives are:

  • To infer, on the basis of the main geological features of basins and orogens, the processes that play a role in their formation and evolution.
  • To illustrate how conceptual models of these processes can be developed further into quantitative models by taking into account the relevant physics.
  • To illustrate how geological observations can be used to test and refine the proposed models (concept of testing working hypotheses).
  • To equip students with phenomenological understanding of basin and orogen formation, evolution mechanisms and (sub)surface processes, which are needed to further understand locations and potential of economic-relevant reserves.

Please note: the theoretical part of this course focusses on some of the main lithospheric processes and, consequently, shows significant overlap with the 3rd and 4th year course on lithosphere dynamics/tectonophysics. This course is primarily intended for students following a geology-oriented line of study who did not (do not) follow these tectonophysics classes. See the appendix for an overview of essential background.

This course contributes to the development of the following transferable skills:

  • Written communication: through reports on home assignments and computer labs.
  • Problem-solving: as implicit in practical work.
  • Verbal communication: in particular through oral presentation.
  • Analytical/quantitative skills: through practical work. Computer labs train students in using MATLAB to quantitatively analyse a given problem.
  • Technical skills: see previous.

Dynamics of the earth's mantle

Mantle processes (e.g. deep mantle flow, plate tectonics & subduction ) drive surface change not only on geological time scales (oceanic basins and continental platforms, sedimentary basin formation, mountain building, plate boundary deformation, genesis of natural resources, ….) but also on the human time scale (natural disasters as earthquakes & volcanoes, sea level change, stability/mobility of the crust, …). In this course, the focus is on how we can study mantle dynamics from a mathematical-physical point of view. This will give students the proper entry to scientific papers on the subject and constitutes the proper basis for follow up courses in computational geophysics and guided research or master research in mantle dynamics. The lectures are accompanied by an exercise class and a computer practical.
Part 1: The course starts with a qualitative summary of current views on mantle convection in the Earth, which includes inferences on the style of mantle flow as "observed" with seismic tomography. The course continues with a brief review of continuum mechanics and rheology followed by a mathematical-physical treatment leading to the basic equations describing the dynamics of the crust-mantle system. This also encompasses a derivation of the energy (heat, Temperature) equation from first principles. Next the steps are made toward real-Earth application encompassing basic approximations, and scaling of differential equations leading to non-dimensional quantities with important coefficients, such as the Rayleigh number that characterize the style of flow and dynamics. The last subject is a treatment of linear stability analysis leading to a solution of the onset-of-convection problem. This more theoretical part is supported by extensive handout includes many exercises.
Part 2: The second part of the course concerns the practical scientific implementation of the basic theory for studies of crust-mantle dynamics. This comprises the step from mantle dynamics theory to numerical modelling and particular topics of application and discussion of scientific papers from the recent literature. This part ends with the presentation by students on various topics of choice, e.g. generation of mantle plumes, thermo-chemical convection, plates, subduction & convection, interaction between mantle flow and slab subduction, surface evolution and mantle dynamics, dynamics topography, ..., all based on recent literature. This final seminar will be cast as a typical conference session.

Part 3: In parallel with Part 2, students are actively getting experience in a computerlab dealing with e.g. the basics of thermal convection and solid-state phase transitions in mantle.
Grading
The final mark results from a normal weighed average of the results of 3 parts with the following weights:

  • Part 1: 50% of the final mark.
  • Part 2: 30% of the final mark.
  • Part 3: 20% of the final mark.

For each part at least a 4.0 must be scored but the final mark must be a 5.5 or higher to pass the course.
In part 1 the students will be primarily tested on their mathematical-physical understanding of the quantitative formulation underlying mantle convection. Particularly, in parts 2 and 3 the students will be tested and graded on their ability in critical and analytical reasoning, on creativity in building sensible connections between the topics treated and other topics in mantle dynamics and the broader earth sciences. The exercise and computerlab also assesses students creativity in constructing solution strategies, in solving problems and on providing proper argumentation for solutions found.

Development of transferable skills:
Ability to work in a team: students work in teams of two for preparation and presentation of materials and presentations
Written communication skills: Students are expected to hand in a report per team about the computer practicals.
Verbal communication skills: at the end of the course a student “conference” is organized in which each students presents a recent paper from the literature within 12 minutes, as in real scientific meetings
Problem-solving skills: exercises and computer practicals are generally challenging the students to further develop or devise new problem solving strategies
Initiative: the closing student “conference” promotes personal initiative to browse the scientific literature for additional information and for developing a critical attitude
Analytical/quantitative skills: the course develops quantitative skills for assessing geodynamic problems
Flexibility/adaptability: some of the lecture materials draws from a wide range of (computational) geodynamics and (geo)physics topics and is intended to be thought provoking and trigger the student curiosity.
Technical skills: The course computer practical sessions make use of the Linux operating system. Students have to modify, compile a computer code, gather data and plot them with the Gnuplot and Paraview softwares.

Dynamics of sedimentary systems

Early in the course, emphasis is put on the effect the choice of temporal and spatial scales defined by a research question has on our approach to sediment transport dynamics. Following this, the hierarchy and scaling of the architecture of sedimentary successions is investigated. The structure of this architecture will be built on concepts of sequence stratigraphy. Once a clear perspective on the organization of deposits in parasequences, sequences, and shelf-clinoforms has been presented to the student, attention will shift to forcing mechanisms of deposit characteristics within subsets of deposits and depositional environments: Alluvial systems; transgressive systems and highstand deltas; tidal systems; and deep marine depositional systems. The course will conclude by challenging the students to investigate the validity and application of two oft (miss-)used concepts of Earth Sciences: “Walther’s Law”; and “The present is the key to the past”.

Modelling of Crust and Lithosphere Deformation

Please Note: Due to space limitations in the laboratory, where half of the course will be taught, this course is limited to 20 students and admission is upon evaluation of motivation letters, which have to be sent by e-mail to the course coordinator the latest by June 30, 2017.

The course consists of interconnected components that elucidate various aspects of how crust and lithosphere deformation processes can be studied through the application of physical analogue and numerical modelling techniques. The course starts with a discussion on modelling as a means for studying earth system processes followed by an overview of modelling techniques and a review of crust-lithosphere rheology. Next, the analogue modelling approach is extensively used to illustrate general aspects of modelling (how to build a model, choice of initial and boundary conditions, scaling etc.) and to infer basic modes of crust and lithosphere deformation in contraction and extension. The simplified case study addresses deformation of the Aegean-Anatolian region as derived from field geological observations and kinematic reconstructions and is used to demonstrate the importance of various boundary conditions. The next part of the course introduces analytical and numerical modelling approaches to studying deformation of the crust-lithosphere. The case study of the Aegean-Anatolian region is further addressed with thin visco-elastic sheet modelling. As such the “case study” serves as an important connecting element of the course. Lastly, 2-D modelling of a vertical section of the crust-lithosphere system forms the starting point for investigating first order relations between visco-plastic-elastic rheology, the geotherm, fault motion, various lateral forcings of the system, and topography change. The course is structured into two parts:

1. Physical analogue modelling:

  • Basics of physical analogue modelling.
    The students will get acquainted with the principles of analogue modelling including the rheology of analogue materials, scaling of the experiments, and how to build models, elaborate on their simplifications and underlying assumptions.
  • Frictional behaviour and its implication on fault and orogenic wedge geometries.
    Simple, crustal-scale models, build with frictional materials will be used to discuss orogenic wedge geometries as a function of variable basal friction boundary conditions.
  • Principles of coupling vs. decoupling for deformation of the crust and lithosphere.
    As the rheological stratification of the crust and the lithosphere govern important aspects of deformation such as strain localization, the geometry, style and sequence of deformation, etc., brittle-ductile experiments will be deployed to study deformation geometries in relation to the degree of coupling among layers constituting the crust and the lithosphere. The results will be discussed in the frame of: styles of rifting (wide rifts vs narrow rifts with application to Aegean region) and the geometry of Alps-type mountain belts.
  • Case study – Anatolia escape.
    This exercise includes all aspects named above and highlights the 3d aspects of crust and lithosphere deformation. Students will have to build experiments tailored towards investigating the kinematics of lateral escape of Anatolia; detailed analysis of surface deformation through particle tracing will enable to compare modelling results with GPS data and numerical modelling predictions, acquired during 2nd part of this course.

2. Numerical modelling and micro-physical approach to modelling deformation

  • Introduction to thin visco-elastic sheet modelling of lithosphere deformation.
    The students will set up a visco-elastic plane stress model of Anatolia and Greece to investigate the influence of the forcing (slab rollback, Arabia collision, Nubia convergence, gravitational potential energy, …), vertically averaged lithospheric rheology, and friction on major regional faults on the fit to observations (GPS benchmark motions, focal mechanisms, uplift/subsidence ….). One particular discussion item will be the earthquake cycle and its geodetic expression.
  • Introduction to 2-D visco-plastic modelling of a 2-D vertical section of the lithosphere.
    In numerical experiments the initial conditions (model layering, rheology of the lithosphere, faults rheology, and the geotherm) as well as the boundary conditions (various velocity and stress conditions) will be varied to investigate the stress and deformation response of the lithosphere as well as topography change. Special attention is directed to which rheological component is dominant and to deformation localization on creeping faults.
  • Modelling of fault strength.
    The student will use existing flow laws to construct crustal strength profiles for the upper ~30 km of the crust as well as incorporate additional flow laws based on microphysical models derived from laboratory experiments. Phenomenological friction laws will be discussed and used in a boundary-element numerical code to simulate the seismic cycle and to investigate the effect of varying parameters on earthquake recurrence and size.

Development of transferable skills:
Leadership and teamwork: Students work in teams; in order to get the assignments done the teams need to organize themselves and chose a leader (leadership can change). At the same time, close collaboration among team members is needed to successfully complete the assignments.
Written communication skills will be acquired through presenting the results of the assignments in short, publication style reports.
Problem-solving skills: applying modelling techniques intrinsically demands the development of problem solving skills to be able to convert a research questions into meaningful modelling concept with sound initial and boundary conditions.
Analytical/quantitative skills: students have to quantitatively analyze and interpret modelling results and critically discuss their findings with published data and concepts.
Flexibility/adaptability: Depending on outcome of the modelling exercises students will have to adopt their modelling strategies, anticipating on previous success or failure.
Technical skills: the students will learn new techniques (physical analogue and numerical modelling) for tackling scientific problems.