Courses

Courses

Southern Methodist University


Undergraduate Level -


GEOL 1313 Earthquakes and Volcanoes (evevy Spring semester)

OVERVIEW: Earthquakes and volcanoes are two of the most dynamic expressions of natural earth processes known.  They provide the starting point for the exploration of the solid earth from the surface to the deep interior.  We will explore how an understanding of these events and their effects provides a basis for the fundamental theory of earth evolution, Plate Tectonics.  This theory is used to estimate where and when damaging earthquakes and volcanoes may be expected in the future as well as quantifying how our planet was formed and changed over its history.  These natural phenomena have affected humans for centuries and provide a historical context for our studies as well as an opportunity to compare human and geologic time scales.  Modern quantification of these processes forms the basis for assessing and mitigating their effects, minimizing loss of life and economic impact thus illustrating the societal aspects of the science.


The quantitative aspect of science will be emphasized through numerous exercises associated with locating, measuring and assessing the physical effects of earthquakes and volcanoes during the labs and in lecture.  The human component is developed through the group hazard assessment project focusing upon areas of the world that will experience damaging earthquakes and/or eruptions.


Text Box: Offset along the San Andreas fault at Wallace
            Creek, CA. Top: point cloud image; Bottom: hillshade image.
            Images from OpenTopography GEOL 3359 Computer Methods in Earth Sciences (Every other Spring semester, Spring 2014)
GEOL 6309 Special Topics in GEOL Computer Methods


OVERVIEW: Earth scientists try to understand the physical processes that operate within and on the earth and other planets and to interpret the history of geologic events, evaluate active events, and anticipate future ones. To do so, we use the conceptual tools of geology, physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and computer science. As we work, we often gather and need to manage large datasets.  

Computers help us to learn about and gain intuition related to our conceptual tools, and they help us to manage and manipulate our datasets and often to generate predictions that we compare with our data (hypothesis-testing). Computers in themselves are only the means to get to the understanding, evaluation, and anticipation that we seek. We have to be careful to be scientists (geoscience leads the activity), rather than technicians (the method or tool or computer leads the activity).



GEOL 3380 Introduction to Geophysics (Every other Fall semester, Fall 2014)

GEOL 6310 Independent Study: Solid Earth Geophysics

OVERVIEW: Survey of geophysical techniques used to understand the structure and dynamics of the solid earth.  These techniques included, but are not limited to, seismology, geodesy, gravity, heat flow and magnetism.  The course is designed to provide an overview of topics in geophysics, show you how geophysics and geology complement each other to reach a better understanding of the Earth and other planetary bodies, and provide a basic grasp of the subject to prepare you for higher-level geophysics courses (if you so desire). The book was chosen with these goals in mind, and Face of the Earth is the only pre-requisite course.









Graduate Level -


GEOL  5392 Introduction to Seismology (Every other Fall semester, next up Fall 2015)

OVERVIEW: Basic principles of seismology. MATH 2343 (Elementary Differential Equations) AND permission of instructor.  This course will provide a broad overview of observational and theoretical seismology and how seismic waves are used to study of the Earth's interior. Topics include elastic wave propagation, seismic ray theory, interpretation of travel times, seismograms as a time series, and seismotectonics. We will use geometry, linear algebra, and differential and integral calculus. Some physics and geology background, either concurrent or earlier will help you reach a deeper understanding of the course material.  Advanced Unix-based computing skills are now expected in earth sciences, and to help develop these skills, a portion of every lecture will be spent on computer-based exercises, including programming activities in the MATLAB language.


GEOL 5320 Dynamic Earth I (now taught by Beatrice Magnani)

OVERVIEW: Development of the theory of plate tectonics as a unifying mechanism for understanding large-scale geologic processes.  Physical and chemical structure of the earth and its evolution through geologic time. Dynamic processes in the core, mantle and crust. Contemporary applications of geological and geophysical techniques.

GEOL 6380 Geophysical Inverse Theory (As needed, next up Spring 2015)

OVERVIEW: Quantification is one of the hardest problems in the Earth Sciences but is the corner stone for developing and examining scientific hypotheses.  This course will provide an advanced undergraduate student or first year graduate student the mathematical foundations of linear algebra, vector spaces and generalized inverse theory, with an introduction to statistics.  Example problems in the Earth Sciences will be incorporated in class projects showing how to set up a parameter-estimation problem and appropriate ways of solving them.  The MATLAB programming language will be used for solving homework problems and project development.  Class grades will be based on tests, homework assignments, and the final project with class presentation.

CERI, University of Memphis


ESCI 7603 Inverse Methods in Geophysics

Overview: Quantification is one of the hardest problems in the Earth Sciences but is the corner stone for developing and examining scientific hypotheses.  This course will provide an advanced undergraduate student or first year graduate student the mathematical foundations of linear algebra, vector spaces and generalized inverse theory, with an introduction to statistics.  Example problems in the Earth Sciences will be incorporated in class projects showing how to set up a parameter-estimation problem and appropriate ways of solving them.  The MATLAB programming language will be used for solving homework problems and project development.  Class grades will be based on tests, homework assignments, and the final project with class presentation.


Antelope: Love it or hate it, here is how to use it

The Antelope database system has multiple applications in seismology and is the prefer method for many standard IRIS-related tasks.  Topics covered in this short-course will include 1) overview of real-time and non-real-time applications of Antelope; 2) creating metadata tables; 3) merging field data into a waveform database; 4) archiving data with the IRIS Data Management Center; 5) using Antelope software to detect arrivals and associate with earthquakes; 6) analyzing local earthquake waveforms, relocating earthquakes, and cross-correlating waveforms in Antelope; and 7) writing Matlab scripts to work with Antelope databases.  The computer scripting language Perl will also be covered as needed.  We may also play with integrating temporary networks with the Transportable Array near real-time data if time allows. Link to Short-course Website


ESCI 7205 Data Analysis in Geophysics

Overview: The course provides an overview of computational techniques and common tools used by geoscientists. Homework assignments are designed so that students can acquire a working knowledge of a wide range of scientific programming and scripting languages.  Emphasis is placed on manipulation and analysis of geophysical data in a Unix/Linux environment. Topics covered include working within the Unix/Linux environment; programming in MATLAB; scripting (sh and csh); generating publishable graphics with Generic Mapping Tools (GMT); and Seismic Analysis Code. Link to Class Website

ESCI 7702 Seminar in Seismology-The Seismogenic Zone of Subduction Thrust Fault

Overview: Underthrusting earthquake occurring along subduction megathrusts account for greater than 80% of the seismic moment released worldwide.  Great (Mw>8), large (Mw>7), and tsunamigenic earthquakes at convergent margins, such as the recent 2004 Sumatra earthquake, cause much damage and loss of life along heavily populated coastal zones. Understanding how and where these seismogenic zone earthquakes occur is a major focus of the international scientific community.  This seminar will focus on the range of compositional, mechanical, hydrothermal, and frictional properties controlling seismogenesis along the subduction thrust.  Readings will include seminal and recent papers on rate-and-state friction laws, accretionary versus erosional margins, thermal modeling, geodetic and seismic modeling, tsunami modeling, observations of tremor and aseismic slip, the role of the upper and lower plate, and the use of proxy data to constrain hazard.  


Miscellaneous Sites

Perl Tutorials (description)(examplescript)

IRIS Web Services (pptx)  (matlab example) (perl example)














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Updated May, 2013