2016 Earth and Life

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Earth and Planetary Sciences
Hirose Kei  Ida Shigeru 
Class Format
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Mon7-8(I2-318)  Thr7-8(I2-318)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
Access Index

Course description and aims

We discuss the structure and dynamics of the Earth's interior based on a combination of limited observations and laboratory experiments. We also discuss the formation and evolution of our planet, with its connection to the origin and evolution of life. In addition, we have to consider planet formation processes in general, in order to explain the observations of our solar system and exosolar systems and understand the ubiquity and diversity of planetary systems. Planet formation is a multi-step process involving a variety of physical phenomena. It is important to understand 1) the initial conditions of planet formation such as the dynamical / thermal structure and viscous evolution of proto-planetary disks and 2) the basis for planetary growth such as orbital evolution and coalescence growth processes of small bodies.

Student learning outcomes

[Goals] Learning the basics of Earth's interior and planet formation, and understanding the outlines of cutting edge science on related topics.
[Topics] We discuss the formation and evolution of Earth based on an understanding of present-day structures and dynamics in the interior of our planet. In addition, we learn the dynamical / thermal structure and viscous evolution of proto-planetary disks and the orbital evolution and planetary growth processes in order to understand our solar system and exosolar system.


Interior of the Earth, Formation and evolution of the Earth, Planet formation, Solar system, Exosolar system

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Lectures and short exams

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Overview of Earth's interior Crust, mantle, core
Class 2 Composition of Earth's interior Compositions of the mantle and the core, Solar abundance of elements
Class 3 Pressure and temperature in Earth's interior Melting temperatures of the mantle and the core
Class 4 Formation and evolution of the Earth Magma ocean, core formation
Class 5 Water on the Earth Water in mantle minerals, hydrogen in the core
Class 6 Structure and dynamics of Earth's interior Phase transitions of major mantle minerals
Class 7 Interactions at the core-mantle boundary Core-mantle boundary
Class 8 Dynamics and thermal evolution of the core Heat flow across the core-mantle boundary
Class 9 Thermal structure of proto-planetary disks Heat sources of the disks
Class 10 Dynamical structure of the disks Dynamical equilibrium of the disks
Class 11 Disk accretion Viscous diffusion of the disks
Class 12 Orbital evolution of dust grains Gas drag for the dust
Class 13 Growth of dust and formation of planetesimals Collision probability of dust
Class 14 Collisional growth of planetesimals Collisional cross section of planetesimals
Class 15 Formation of gas giant planets Structure of gas giant planets



Reference books, course materials, etc.

None in English

Assessment criteria and methods

Evaluation based on attendance and short exams

Related courses

  • EPS.A418 : Solid-Earth Science A
  • EPS.A201 : Introduction to Material Sciences of Earth and Planet
  • EPS.A333 : Planetary Astronomy
  • EPS.A202 : Introduction to Earth and Planetary Sciences

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)


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