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Course Description

This course deals with mechanics of deformation of the crust and mantle, with emphasis on the importance of different rheological descriptions: brittle, elastic, linear and nonlinear fluids, and viscoelastic.


Applications of Continuum Mechanics to Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (12.005) and either Advanced Calculus for Engineers (18.075) or Mathematical Methods for Engineers I (18.085)


Turcotte, D. L., and J. Schubert. Geodynamics. 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002. ISBN: 0521666244.

Supplementary Texts

Malvern, L. E. Introduction to the Mechanics of a Continuous Medium. Paramus, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1977. ISBN: 0134876032.

Ranalli, G. Rheology of the Earth. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Chapman and Hall, 1995. ISBN: 0412546701.

Assignments and Exams

Problem sets will be given out approximately weekly. We will also discuss papers from journals. There will be a take-home final exam.


Grades will be based 2/3 on the homework, 1/3 on the final.


You are encouraged to discuss problem sets to help each other on approaches, etc. But do not copy answers - work them out yourself. Do not discuss the exam.