Welcome to Dynamic Earth. In this course we will explore the natural processes that lead to disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and floods. These very processes also create things of beauty and may even make life itself possible.
During the semester you will make observations and interpretations of geologic processes ranging in scale from the global pattern of mountain ranges to the atomic structure of minerals, and in time from billions of years of Earth history to the few seconds it takes for a fault to slip during an earthquake. You will quantify magnitudes, rates, and equilibrium conditions for many of these processes using publicly available data as well as measurements you make yourself.
After the course your view of the world around you will have changed. The landscape you hike across, the rocks you drive by on the highway and the view out an airplane window will all tell you stories of the processes that formed them. When you hear of the next natural disaster you will understand the natural processes that caused it and be able to critically evaluate the media reports. Finally you will have gained basic observational and analysis skills that will apply to whatever endeavors you choose to pursue in the
What we’re doing this week
Week of 2/6/2012
Simulating a volcanic eruption: