EESC 4300, Earth's Deep Interior (2012)

Professor Göran Ekström

Course Summary

Presents an overview of the geophysical study of Earth structure, drawing upon geodesy, gravity, seismology, thermal studies, geomagnetism, material science, and some geochemistry.

The course covers the principal techniques by which discoveries have been made in deep Earth structure, and describes fundamental properties and features of the crust, mantle, and core.

Suggested preparation

Vector calculus, differential equations, Fourier series, college-level physics (mechanics, electromagnetism, waves).


Class Format:

The course meeting time will mainly be used for lecture presentation of core material and occasional presentations of related research papers by class participants.
There will be ~5 written assignments/problem sets during the term.
Participants taking the class for credit are expected to write a term paper (due 12/17).

The grade will be based on the assignments/problem sets (one third) and the term paper (two thirds).


No single text covers this material. Together with handouts and notes, readings will be taken from (incomplete list):

Physics of the Earth, 3rd edition, Frank Stacey, Brookfield Press, 1992.
Physics of the Earth, 4rd edition, Frank Stacey and Paul Davies, Cambridge University Press, 2008.
The Solid Earth, Christine Mary Rutherford Fowler, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004.
Fundamentals of Geophysics, William Lowrie, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2001
Geodynamics, Turcotte and Schubert, 1982 (also 2nd edition, 2002)


Restricted portion of course web site

Göran Ekström, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University