Teaching

I teach two classes per year, an annual undergraduate class in marine geology and geophysics that is required for Oceanography majors and an elective for Earth and Space Sciences majors and two graduate classes that are offered in alternate years.

Undergraduate Class

Ocean/ESS 410: Marine Geology and Geophysics (offered Fall)

Description. This class provide a basic introduction to the geological and geophysical processes that form and shape the ocean basins and their margins.   The class schedule comprises two 1-hour lectures per week and two 2-hour labs many of which are computer-based.  In the class, we will first learn to interpret global bathymetric maps in terms of plate tectonics and spend a lab comparing the Earth to other planets. We cover some of the geophysical techniques used to characterize the Earth and discuss how the shape of the ocean basins results from the cooling of the oceanic plates.  We will learn how earthquakes are located and how we can deduce the style of faulting from earthquake records.  We study volcanic and tectonic processes at mid-ocean ridges and subduction zones. In the last part of the class we will move on to understanding the role of sedimentary processes in shaping continental margins and briefly look at sediments in the deep oceans.  There is a required field trip: a class field trip to Mt. St. Helens and a make up field trip to the beaches of the Olympic Coastline in conjuction with Ocean/ESS 230: Rivers & Beaches.

Prerequisites. Either ESS 210ESS 211, or ESS 212.

Textbook.  There is no textbook for this class.

Audience:  This class is required of Oceanography majors and is an elective for ESS majors.  It is a good choice for ESS students interested in understanding the geology of the ocean basins with an emphasis on geophysics.

Graduate Classes

Ocean/ESS 545: Oceanic Lithosphere (offered Spring, odd years)

Description. Ocean basins cover nearly two-thirds of the Earth’s surface and they are a primary manifestation of plate tectonics.  This class will cover the basic physical principles and geophysical observational techniques used to understand the formation, evolution and destruction of the oceanic lithosphere.  Topics covered may include the mantle flow and melting patterns beneath oceanic spreading centers and subduction zones, the thermodynamics and basic chemistry of decompressional melting, the formation of the volcanic oceanic crust, conductive heat transport and the thickening of oceanic plates, faulting and plate flexure and the application of magnetic, gravity and seismic observations.

Prerequisites. There are no formal requirements for this class but the material assumes familiarity with differential equations and preferably partial differential equations.

Textbook.  This is the only class I teach with a text book:  Geodynamics by D. L. Turcotte and G. Schubert, 2nd Edition, Cambridge University Press, 2002 and includes about 80% of the material presented in class and covered in the homeworks.

Audience. This is a required class for ocean grads in the MG&G option.  It will satisfy the out-of-option requirements for other ocean grads and is a good choice for students seeking a more mathematical introduction to MG&G and/or an understanding of the use of partial differential equations to understand natural processes.  For grads in ESS, the mathematical level will be intermediate between ESS 502 and ESS 511-516.  The class might also be suitable for advanced undergrads who have taken one or more of ESS 411-416 or OCEAN/ESS 410 and the necessary math.

ESS 522: Geoscientific Data Analysis (offered Spring, even years)

Description.  The objective of the class is to provide a hands-on introduction to data analysis techniques that are widely used in geophysical, geological, and related fields of research. Lectures and accompanying MATLAB exercises will cover: (1) The properties of discrete Fourier transforms and their use in analyzing evenly spaced time and spatial data (6 weeks) and (2) An introduction to the statistics of measurements, probability distributions, curve fitting, interpolation and Kriging (4 weeks). The class will place a lot of emphasis on individual student projects. Each student learn and apply a data analysis technique of their choosing to a problem in their field of research with the goal of preparing a short presentation and demonstration / hands-on exercise that illustrates the technique to the rest of the class.

Prerequsites: There are no formal requirements for this class.  Mathematically, the class assumes familiarity with calculus, complex variables, differential equations and the continuous Fourier transforms but students have successfully taken it with just year of calculus.  The homeworks make extensive use of MATLAB.  For students not familiar with MATLAB, there will be a steep learning curve.

Textbook: There is no textbook for this class but there are lecture notes.

Audience: This class is aimed at students in Oceanography (particularly the MG&G option) and in Earth and Space Sciences who are interested in learning geophysical time series and basic statistical techniques.