Master’s studies

Syllabus for Applications of Geodynamics

Geodynamiska tillämpningar


  • 5 credits
  • Course code: 1GE052
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Physics A1F, Earth Science A1F
  • Grading system: Fail (U), 3, 4, 5
  • Established: 2015-03-12
  • Established by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: week 01, 2015
  • Entry requirements: 180 credits including 75 credits in physics and mathematics. In addition, Continuum Mechanics in Geophysics 5 credits, and Global Geophysics 10 credits, are required.
  • Responsible department: Department of Earth Sciences

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of the course, the student is expected to be able to:

  • Apply the equations of continuum mechanics to geodynamical problems.
  • Code one- and two-dimensional finite difference and spectral models of linear systems using MATLAB.
  • Describe the differences and limitations of different numerical techniques and choose the most appropriate method accordingly.
  • Explain the difference between Dirichlet and Neumann boundary conditions.
  • Use the commercial code Comsol Multiphysics to solve a variety of dynamical problems.
  • Produce visualisation of the output (graphs, contour plots, movies, etc.).


Finite difference and spectral methods. Introduction to Comsol Multiphysics (commercial finite element code).
Comparison of analytical and numerical solutions: heat equation, flexure of thin and thick plates, fluid flow. Asthenospheric counter-flow model. Post-glacial rebound. Diapirism as Rayleigh-Taylor instability. Thermal convection. One-dimensional flow with constant and variable viscosity. Shear heating in Couette flow and thermal run-away instability. Faulting, friction, and simple earthquake models. Stress diffusion.


Lectures, homework, problem solving, computer exercises.


Oral examination (2 credits), homework assignments (2 credits), and oral presentation (1 credit).

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 01, 2015

  • Turcotte, Donald Lawson; Schubert, Gerald Geodynamics

    2. ed.: Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2002

    There is a 3rd edition available (2014), but for some reason it is not listed within the system. The 2nd or 3rd editions are preferred, but even the 1st edition (1982) is OK for this course.

    Find in the library