• Offered by Physics Education Centre and the Research School of Earth Sciences
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Earth and Marine Sciences, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Mathematics, Physics, Engineering
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Hrvoje Tkalcic
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

The course is an introduction to physics of the solid Earth intended for students with substantial background in physics and mathematics including calculus. The course will provide an overview of the structure and evolution of the Earth as a dynamic planet within our solar system. Physical principles will be applied to the following topics: theory of elasticity and elastic wave propagation; modern global seismology as a probe of the Earth's internal structure; earthquakes and the description of seismic sources; a simple but fundamental theory of thermal convection; the distinctive rheological behaviour of the upper mantle and its top layer, controlled by significant changes in the mechanical properties of the material, will then be explored to arrive at a comprehensive description of what forces drive and resist global plate motions.

Honours Pathway Option

Students taking the HP advanced option will undertake an individual project on a topic of interest from the course syllabus. Such project shall develop in consultation with the course lecturers, and may be in the form of a reading project or a laboratory/numerical experiment accompanied by a final report. The assessment of the project will be agreed upon and undertaken in a manner appropriate to the project itself (e.g. a written report or essay, a short talk etc.). Students taking the HP option may elect to substitute their project mark either with up to two (out of four) individual assignments or with one of the experiments and accompanying report normally undertaken during the course (this amounts to a total of 10-20% of the final grade). The assessment weight towards the exam will remain the same.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Discuss the theoretical basis for modern global seismology and employ methods based on such theory to understand earthquake phenomena and the seismological probing of earth structure.

2. Explain the governing dynamics of mantle and lithosphere, and use such understanding to make reliable estimates of the forces controlling plate motions and their temporal changes.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:

  • 2 assignments and 1 lab reports (equal marks, 30% total, LO1)
  • 1 assignment, 1 lab report and 1 oral presentation (equal marks, 30% total, LO2)
  • final exam (40%, LO1 & LO2)

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32 lectures, 12 tutorials, four 3-hour lab sessions.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed MATH1013, MATH1014 MATH1115, MATH1116, PHYS1201 and PHYS1101.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3096
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $4146
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
1708 20 Jul 2015 07 Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015 30 Oct 2015 In Person N/A

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