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Earth's Interior Geology


Module description

This module is designed as an introduction to the formation, structure and dynamics of the Earth and the other rocky planets. It will provide an insight into the origins of the Earth and the establishment of the structure that we see today. It will investigate plate tectonics and the reasons why Earth may be the only known planet with plate tectonics. It will then use plate tectonics as a model to investigate the dynamic processes of the Earth’s interior and the interactions between the interior and surface of the planet.

Together with Earth's Surface Geology and Methods in Earth and Planetary Science this module provides a basic grounding in Earth processes and prepares you for more specialised study in Earth and planetary science.

Indicative module syllabus

  • Origin of the Earth and rocky planets, and the early inner Solar System
  • Internal structure of the Earth and rocky planets
  • The Earth’s crust and the plate tectonic cycle
  • Moving rocks within the Earth
  • Constructive plate margins: volcanism and tectonics
  • Destructive continent-ocean plate margins
  • Destructive continent-continent plate margins
  • Intraplate (continental and oceanic) igneous activity and classification of volcanological features
  • Mountain building
  • High pressure metamorphism
  • High temperature metamorphism

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will understand:

  • the formation of the Earth and inner Solar System
  • the interior of the Earth and the processes occurring there
  • the mechanisms of plate tectonics and the ways by which different forms of plate boundaries manifest at the Earth’s surface
  • the processes and products of volcanism rock deformation and faulting
  • the ways by which rocks behave and can change composition and texture due to pressure and temperature.