0 to 150 Ma plate reconstruction

How Earth Works: 
Dynamic Planet 




1512 C.C. Little Building
Tue and Thu, 11am-12pm. To Registration Information.
Ben A. van der Pluijm (4534b C.C. Little Building)
Ben: vdpluijm@umich.edu; class email group: f9-geolsci-205-001@umich.edu
The email archive is at http://listserver.itd.umich.edu/cgi-bin/lyris.pl?enter=f9-geolsci-205-001
just email me or see me after class for a convenient time
Earth Science Today, By Murphy and Nance, Brooks/Cole, 1999
an interactive resource guide based on the textbook is available on the Web at http://www.brookscole.com/geo/earth_science_today/resources/index.html.This includes on-line quizzes and critical thinking exercises, and other chapter-by-chapter resources. 

Description: Processes in our continuously evolving Earth have given rise to the formation of an internally-layered planet with continents, oceans and an atmosphere. This continuing activity is manifested by the destructive powers of such phenomena as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, mountain building, and plate motion. Starting with the formation of our Universe and evolution of stars like our Sun, the goal of this course is to present an integrated approach to Earth's unique characteristics, and explain her physical principles using conceptual and factual material. In addition to animations and classroom demonstrations, specifically designed WWW-based material will be used. Two lectures/week; two midterms and final exam. No special background required.

Prerequisites & Distribution: No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in GS 117, 119, or 146 (or 270). No credit granted to those who have completed both GS 105 and 107. Those with credit for one of GS 105 and 107 may only elect GS 205 for 1 credit. (2). (NS). (BS). 
Note: this course has significant overlap with GS171 (U110, Global Change-I)and should not be taken concurrently.
Credits: (2). 

Topics and Reading
Interactive Resource guide

To TerraForming project (use "buildearth" and "test" for User Name and Password; omit quotation marks)

PowerPoint overheads (1998)
PowerPoint images (1999)

Introduction (# lectures; reading; link) Hi, funny cartoons, great student response
The Universe (2; 16; Universe) Dimensions, distance, parallax, velocities, waveform (wavelength, amplitude, frequency), electromagnetic radiation ("light"), radiation laws (E=h.f and E=s.T4), Doppler effect, age of Universe
Stars and Elements (2; 16; Sun) atom (protons, neutron, electrons), elements and periodic table, atomic fusion, E=mc2, stellar evolution (red giant, white dwarf, supernova, neutron star, black hole), contraction vs. expansion (gravity vs. heat)
The Solar System (2;15; Solar system) shrinking and flattening of rotating mass and accretion of planets, rocky (inner) vs. gaseous (outer) planets, Kepler's 1st and 3rd law (and satellite orbits), tilt of earth's rotation axis and 26,000yr presession, climate cycles, tides (Moon-Earth(-Sun) attraction and Earth's rotation).
Early Earth (1-2; 13.1-13.3; billion) early heating and whole-Earth melting, differentiation, elemental budget and early atmosphere, O from life and BIFs, prokaryotes (cyano bacteria).
Earth's Features (1; 5.3; Topography) dimensions, continents and oceans, latitude and longitude, spherical to map projections, elevation distribution, histogram and cumulative frequency curve, mass and density
10/12 Exam 1
Atoms and Time (2; 2.1.1, 3; Clocks) early ideas, relative (older, younger) vs. absolute (numerical) dating, atoms, (radiogenic) isotopes, radioactive decay (a, b, g), half-life/decay constant, age of meteorites and Earth.
Volcanoes (2; 6; Earthquakes and Volcanoes) Volcano shape, SiO2-content in relation to shape and viscosity, basalt-andesite-rhyolite and intrusive equivalents, making melts, volcanoes and plate tectonic setting.
Earthquakes (2; 7; Earthquakes and Volcanoes) effects of earthquakes, elastic rebound theory, focus and epicenter, intensity scale, seismogram, magnitude scale, energy release, body (P and S) and surface waves, location of earthquake, global distrubution of earthquakes.
Properties of P and S, seismic velocity models of Earth (homogeneous, varying density, layered and varying density), shadow zones, gross structure of earth and layer characteristics.
11/11 Exam 2
11/11 Exam 2
Earth Structure and Plates (3; 4, 5, 7; Plate Tectonics) Global distribution of earthquakes, definition of plate, lithosphere (strong) vs. asthenosphere (weak), types of fault motion (normal, reverse, lateral) and seismic signal, focus of deep earthquakes, Earth's 8 major plates (and dozen smaller plates), types of plate boundaries (rift=divergent b., subduction zone= convergent b., transform=conservative b., compositional vs. rheologic layering.
Earth's Magnetosphere (2; 4.2; Plate Tectonics) Principles of magnetism (dipolar field), origin of Earth magnetic field (inner/outer core interactions), inclination and declination, inclination and latitude (tan (inclination=2tan(latitude)), Curie point (magnetite).
Polarity reversal, duration of reversal interval, magnetic anomalies on ocean floor, sea-floor spreading, spreading rate (several cm/yr), age of ocean floor (<180Ma).
Paleodeclination and paleoinclination, moving continent vs. moving magnetic poles, apparent polar wander path, pre-200Ma reconstruction.
PowerPoint images
Plates in Collision (3; 4, 5, 6; Topography) continent-continent collision (India-Asia), isostasy experiment (floating blocks); Archimedes' Principle; elevation of floating icebergs, mountains from different thickness (rather than different densities), continentla crust vs. oceanic crust thickness
Engine and the Future (1; 5.5 ) convection experiment, whole-mantle vs. layered convection, seismilogical evidence for plume tectonics (tomography and slab imaging), modeling (heating from below and internally heated; vary viscosity structure), plate driving forces (ridge push, slab pull, mantle drag), future plate reconstructions.
Recitation: TBA
Final Exam: Wed, December 15, 1:30-3:30p

The exam pages are ordered by ID, with the first three digits removed.  The grade distribution is show as histogram and cumulative curve.
Exam 1: 25% exam grade. Click HERE to see scores
Exam 2: 25% exam grade. Click HERE to see scores
Final exam: 50% exam grade. Click HERE to see final grade or cumulative results thus far.

How and when of homework assignments will be announced in class and by email, followed by update on the Web (see "Due" below)

Homework scores are added to the exam scores to reach the final score.

I. Virtual Dating. Go to the website below and complete the Virtual Dating Module (Isochron, not C-dating). Hand in a personalized print-out of the "Certificate of Completion".
Site: http://vcourseware5.calstatela.edu/VirtualDating/files/1.0_ClocksInRocks.html
Due: Thursday October 28, 1999 (5 points)

II. Virtual Earthquake.  Go to the website below and complete the Virtual Earthquake Module (both earthquake location and magnitude). Hand in a personalized print-out of the "Certificate of Completion", which should include a data summary.
Site: http://vflylab.calstatela.edu/edesktop/VirtApps/VirtualEarthQuake/VQuakeIntro.html
Due: Tuesday, November 9, 1999 (5 points)

Topography exercise.  Read the description of topographylab.htm. Use (User name) "buildearth" and (Password) "test" to access this protected site (omit quotation marks).
1. Print-out of histogram from step 6 (histogram of topographic profile).
Briefly answer these questions:
2.  Why is the density of points greatest at the equator in Figure 4 of the exercise? (Remember that this is supposed to be a random distribution of points on the surface of the Earth).
3.  A histogram of the Earth's elevations has two large peaks. What is the significance of these peaks? What regions correspond to the two peaks?
Cannot find "Histogram" function in Excel?  Go to "Tools", click "Add-Ins", select "Analysis ToolPak".  This will load a host of analysis tools, which will now be visible when you select "Data Analysis" on the "Tools" menu.  You will find "Histogram" as one of several options.  You may need to reinstall these tools each time you use a campus-site computer, as this is not (yet) part of the Excel default settings.

IV. Distribution of Volcanoes and Earthquakes.  Read the description of the exercise and hand in the answer to the two questions. Use (User name) "buildearth" and (Password) "test" to access this protected site (omit quotation marks).

PowerPoint images used in 1998 class, click here (large file!)

Copyright © Ben A. van der Pluijm, 1997-1999. Visit number