Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 3 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

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)


Buy at Amazon Turcotte, D. L., and J. Schubert. Geodynamics. 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780521666244.

Supplementary Texts

Buy at Amazon Malvern, L. E. Introduction to the Mechanics of a Continuous Medium. Paramus, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1977. ISBN: 9780134876030.

Buy at Amazon Ranalli, G. Rheology of the Earth. New York, NY: Springer; 2nd ed. edition, 1995. ISBN: 9780412546709.

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.