cod. 00432

Academic year 2013/14
3° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Fisica tecnica ambientale (ING-IND/11)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
52 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit
in - - -

Learning objectives

To provide the fundamentals of geophysics on which several aspects relative to all the geology fields are founded. The course gives specific physical tools for an improved and critical understanding of the geologic problems, also in applied geology.


Fundamentals of physics and geology

Course unit content

The fields of the planet Earth. Le course is organized in four chapters, including: the geo-gravitational field, the figure of the Earth, gravity and isostatic anomalies; the geomagnetic field, sources and rock magnetic properties, secular variations, models, anomalies; the thermal field, rock and planet cooling, thermal models of the crust; earthquake seismology and internal structure of the Earth.

Full programme

The gravitational field and the figure of the Earth. The low of universal gravitation. Gravitational acceleration. Equipotential surfaces. Centripetal and centrifugal acceleration. The Earth tides. Coriolis and Eotwos accelerations. The geogravitational potential. The figure of the Earth. Gravitational potential. Normal gravity. The geoid. Gravity anomalies. Interpretation of gravity anomalies. Isostasy. Isostatic anomalies. The geomagnetic field. The physics of magnetism. The dipole field. Magnetization and magnetic field inside a material. Rock magnetism. The magnetic anomalies. The geomagnetic field. The geomagnetic potential. The magnetic field of external origin. The magnetic field of internal origin. Origin of the dipole field. Origin of the non-dipole field. Magnetic surveying. Interpretation of the magnetic anomalies. The geothermal field. Thermodynamic principles. Temperature profiles inside the earth. Heat transport in the Earth. Sources of heat in the Earth. Radioactive heat production. Heat conduction equation. Continental heat flow. Oceanic heat flow. Global heat flow. Models for the cooling of the continental lithosphere. Thermal structure of the oceanic lithosphere. Seismology and the internal structure of the earth. Seismic waves. The seismogram. Earthquake seismology. Location of the epicentre and ipocentre. Analysis of earthquake focal mechanisms. Earthquake size and frequency. Global seismicity. Internal structure of the Earth. Reflections and refractions. Radial variation of density. Radial variations of gravity. Radial variations of pressure.


Lowrie, W., Fundamentals of Geophysics . Cambridge University Press, 1997; Fowler, C.M.R., The solid Earth. Cambridge University Press, 2005; Brown, G.C., and Mussett, A.E., La Terra inaccessibile. Scienze della Terra – 2. Patron Editore, 1985; Gasparini, P. e Montanari, M., Fisica della terra solida. Liguori, 1988; Sgavetti, M., Note del Corso 2012-2013.

Teaching methods


Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam

Other information

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