2018 Earth and Space Sciences, Laboratory and Field Studies (geophysics) B

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Academic unit or major
Basic science and technology courses
Okamoto Taro  Matsushima Masaki  Nakamoto Taishi  Nakajima Junichi  Sato Bunei  Nomura Hideko  Okuzumi Satoshi 
Course component(s)
Mode of instruction
Day/Period(Room No.)
Tue7-8(S5-112, Ookayama South Bldg. 5, 112 room)  Fri7-8(S5-112, Ookayama South Bldg. 5, 112 room)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
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Course description and aims

The major themes in Earth and space sciences are to probe the interior of the Earth, planets, and other celestial bodies, to clarify the mechanisms of the phenomena occurring there, and to elucidate the history of the Earth, solar system, the universe, and the evolution of life. This laboratory course is designed as an introduction to the experimental methods used in the field of Earth and space sciences. We will have orientation meetings on April 11 (12:30-13:00) and April 13 (12:30-13:00) at 112, South Bldg. 5, for students who want to attend the class. We will explain the form of application for this course in the orientation.

Student learning outcomes

By completing this course, students will be able to
(1) Experience and understand physical measurements and data analyses used in Earth and space sciences.
(2) Understand basic theories for physical phenomena and methods to analyze acquired data.
(3) Understand the fundamentals of underlying physical processes and extend their view to other phenomena in Earth and space sciences.


earthquake, crater, sun, spectroscopic analysis

Competencies that will be developed

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

Class flow

The class is split into small groups of three to four students. Each student must hand in preparatory work before class. We discuss the methods and theories before the experiment, and also discuss the measured data after the experiment. Students submit their report within about one or two weeks after each experiment.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Explanations of each experiment and experimental safety. Understand the course objectives and safety instructions.
Class 2 Instructions and exercise of experimental instruments and computers. Lectures and exercises on methods of statistical data analysis Understand how to use instruments and methods of statistical analysis.
Class 3 Dynamic Earth [1] Earthquakes (measurement): the Earth is a dynamic planet where plate tectonics are in action and various dynamic processes such as earthquakes, volcanos, and crustal movement continuously occur. Here we simulate one such process, the occurrence of earthquakes, using a spring-slider model. We measure the movements of the sliders. Understand the similarities between natural earthquakes and the spring-slider experiment.
Class 4 Dynamic Earth [2] Earthquakes (analysis): using the computers, we apply statistical analysis methods to the measured movements of the sliders. Apply the statistical methods to the experimental data.
Class 5 Solar system and planets [1] Impact Craters (measurement): we study the impact crater as a clue to investigate the origin and history of the solar system and planets, as well as the interior of the Earth and planets. We make a small impact crater, measure the size of the crater, and record the processes with a high-speed camera. Understand the origin of a crater and conduct experiments.
Class 6 Solar system and planets [1] Impact Craters (analysis): we analyze statistically the size distribution of the experimentally made craters. We also analyze the recorded high-speed movie of the impact craters and depict the physical parameters of the impact dynamics. Apply the statistical methods to the experimental data.
Class 7 Sun and the Earth [1] spectroscopic analysis of sun light (visual inspection): sun light includes information from both the sun and the atmosphere of the Earth. We first inspect the sun light by using a spectroscope and measure the wavelength of the Fraunhofer lines. Understand the principle of the spectroscope and do the observations.
Class 8 Sun and the Earth [1] spectroscopic analysis of sun light (instrumental measurements): we use quantitative instruments to measure the spectroscopic features of sun light, and analyze the obtained data. Observe sunlight using a quantitative spectroscope and study the observed data.


We will hand out a specified textbook.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

References are found in the textbook.

Assessment criteria and methods

Students' knowledge and understanding of each experiment and data analyses will be assessed by contents of laboratory reports. Also the attendance is highly considered.

Related courses

  • LAS.A101 : Earth and Space Sciences A
  • LAS.A111 : Earth and Space Sciences, Laboratory and Field Studies (earth materials)
  • LAS.A112 : Earth and Space Sciences, Laboratory and Field Studies (astronomy)
  • LAS.A102 : Earth and Space Sciences B

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


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