Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 3 sessions / week, 1 hour / session


This course talks about practical applications of the continuum concept for deformation of solids and fluids, emphasizing force balance. Topics include stress tensor, infinitesimal and finite strain, and rotation tensors. Constitutive relations applicable to geological materials, including elastic, viscous, brittle, and plastic deformation are studied along with solutions to classical problems in geodynamics.

You are encouraged to discuss the homework, exams, lecture, or the class in general. Problem sets will be given out approximately weekly.


Electricity and Magnetism (8.02), Calculus (18.02), Differential Equations (18.03).

Supplementary Texts

Schubert, G., D. L. Turcotte, and J. Schubert. Geodynamics. Cambridge, MA; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780521666244.

Middleton, G. V., and P. R. Wilcock. Mechanics in the Earth and Environmental Sciences. Cambridge, MA; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1994. ISBN: 9780521446693.


The grading criteria for the course is: 1/3 for homework; 1/6 for each of 2 in-class 1-hour open-notes mid-term exams; and 1/3 for the in-class 3-hour open-notes final exam held during final exam week.

In a nutshell:

Homework 33.3%
Two In-class 1-hour Open-notes Mid-term Exams 33.3%
In-class 3-hour Open-notes Final Exam 33.3%
Course Info
As Taught In
Spring 2006