Physics and Chemistry of the Terrestrial Planets

The interior of the Earth with layered structure details.

The interior of the Earth, showing the radially layered structure of metallic core and rocky mantle and crust. (Image courtesy of DOE.)


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Fall 2008



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This course introduces the structure, composition, and physical processes governing the terrestrial planets, including their formation and basic orbital properties. Topics include plate tectonics, earthquakes, seismic waves, rheology, impact cratering, gravity and magnetic fields, heat flux, thermal structure, mantle convection, deep interiors, planetary magnetism, and core dynamics. Suitable for majors and non-majors seeking general background in geophysics and planetary structure.

Benjamin Weiss, and Leigh Royden. 12.002 Physics and Chemistry of the Terrestrial Planets, Fall 2008. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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