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Welcome to Physics of the Earth PHYS 3070 Lectures: * * Hrvoje Tkal č i ć , Fellow (Seismology) - Week 1-4 Paul Tregoning , Fellow (Geodesy) - Week 5-8

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Welcome to Physics of the Earth

PHYS 3070

Lectures: * *

Hrvoje Tkalčić, Fellow (Seismology) - Week 1-4

Paul Tregoning, Fellow (Geodesy) - Week 5-8

Ian Jackson, Professor (Rock Physics) - Week 9-12

(Prof. Jackson is the course coordinator)

Research School of Earth Sciences



Weeks 1-4

  • 3 lectures per week (Tue, Wed & Fri)

Combined PowerPoint presentations for visual concepts + transparencies and blackboard for mathematical concepts

  • Seismology: 1 tutorial per week (Wed)
  • Seismology: 1 homework assignment per week
  • Seismology: 2 computer labs

you can expect a similar load for geodesy and mineral physics/geodynamics later in the semester

  • guest speaker (Dr. Ted Lilley on geomagnetism and Dr. Malcolm Sambridge on geophysical inverse theory)
  • 1/3 questions on final exam
  • Office hours: Mon 2-3pm

- About You and Physics of the Earth -

Why on Earth are YOU here?

  • This course is something you always wanted to take
  • You need another course to graduate and think Earth physics is easier than the main stream physics
  • A computer glitch at ANU registration office
  • Just curious…

What can YOU learn?

  • What we know and what we do not know about the Earth
  • How to put your physics and maths to work
  • Expand your horizons - Earth Physics is multidisciplinary and cool
  • Think about pursuing your PhD or MS in Earth Physics atANU Research School of Earth Sciences

What tools can YOU use?

  • Read the textbooks
  • Solve the homework problems
  • Participate in the class - ask questions - come see me during office hours - be proactive

- About Me -


Hrvoje Tkalčić - a difficult to pronounce Croatian name, but could probably be worse :)

pronunciation tip: [Hrr voaye Tkal tcheech]


1996 University diploma in physics, speciality in geophysics from University of Zagreb, Croatia

(lived in Croatia 26 yrs)

2001 Ph.D. in geophysics from University of California at Berkeley, California

(lived in California 10 yrs; graduated 1 year too early to get Schwarzeneger’s signature on my diploma)

Present position

Fellow in seismology, Earth Physics, RSES, ANU

Research interests

  • Observational global seismology; studying the Earth’s interior with special interest in deep Earth structure - the inner and outer core, the core mantle boundary and the lowermost mantle; interpretation of seismic results in the context of understanding Earth’s dynamic past, present and future;
  • Non-tectonic environment earthquakes with anomalous seismic radiation and puzzling earthquake mechanisms (e.g. volcanic earthquakes, explosions, etc.);
  • Lithospheric structure using receiver functions, surface waves and other seismological techniques;
  • Deployments of seismic instrumentation on Earth and planetary surfaces and improvement of spatial sampling of Earth’s interior by seismic body waves.

RSES Earth Physics - other seismology people

  • Dr. Brian Kennett, Professor of seismology, Director of RSES

Research interests summary: seismic wave propagation theory; upper mantle and whole Earth structure; inverse theory; applied seismology

  • Dr. Malcolm Sambridge, Professor of mathematical geophysics

Research interests summary: mathematical geophysics; inverse theory

  • Dr. Nick Rawlinson, Fellow

Research interests summary: wavefront propagation in complex media; seismic 3D imaging of Australian lithosphere; array processing methods

  • Dr. Sara Pozgay, Postdoctoral Fellow

Research interests summary: seismic anisotropy, subduction zones

  • Dr. Pierre Arrocau, Postdoctoral Fellow

Research interests summary: seismic noise; tomography

  • Dr. Michelle Salmon, Postdoctoral Fellow

Research interests summary: lithospheric structure, receiver functions


RSES Earth Physics - other courses offered

  • M. Sc. Specializing in Earth Physics

PEAT8001 - Plate tectonics and mantle dynamics

PEAT8002 - Seismology

PEAT8004 - Current topics in geophysical fluid dynamics

PEAT8009 - Satellite orbit dynamics and the physics of the Earth

PEAT8011 - Earth materials

PEAT8012 - An introduction to inverse problems in the Earth sciences

PEAT8013 - Geophysical continuum mechanics

PEAT8014 - Special topics in Earth science

PEAT8020 - Imaging the Earth

  • For more information, please visit:

RSES Earth Physics - student projects

  • For more information about PhB program, Honours, Internships and Scholarships at RSES, (also for

postgraduate opportunities), please visit:


Textbooks and additional reading for weeks 1-4

  • The Solid Earth - Second Edition: An introduction to Global Geophysics

by C. M. R. Fowler (Chapters 4 & 8; Appendix 1-10) - Cambridge Univ. Press

  • Fundamentals of Geophysics

by W. Lowrie (Chapters 1 & 3) - Cambridge University Press

Additional reading (for those who want to know more)

  • Modern Global Seismology (intermediate level)

by T. Lay and Wallace

  • Seismic Wavefield (advanced level)

by B. L. N. Kennett


Textbooks and additional reading for the course

  • Bolt, B. (2004) Earthquakes, Freeman & Co. (QE534.3 .B65 2004)
  • Shearer, P.M. (1999) Introduction to Seismology, Cambridge University Press (QE534.2 .S455 1999) - available online as a pdf
  • Davies, G. F. (1999) Dynamic Earth, Cambridge University Press (QE509.4 .D38 1999)
  • Poirier, J.P. (1991) Introduction to the Physics of the Earth's Interior, Cambridge University Press (QE509.P64 1991)
  • Stacey, F.D. (1992) Physics of the Earth, 3rd Edn., Brookfield Press (QC806.S65 1992)
  • Turcotte, D.L. & Schubert, G. (2002) Geodynamics 2nd edn, Cambridge University Press, (QE501.T83 2002)

Required by all students:

  • Reading the textbooks
  • (selected chapters)
  • Attend lectures
  • (for in-class assignments, non-textbook material,
      • turn in and pick up HW, final exam)
  • Tutorials
  • (weekly)
  • Homework assignments
  • (once per week - due on Wed, the week after)
      • (-15 points for late HW)

Required by all students:

  • While in lecture, please DO NOT:
  • Talk and have conversations
  • Forget to turn off cell phones
  • Work on homework or read newspapers
  • Break ANU rules/laws (e.g., cheating)

Required by all students:

  • While in the lecture, please DO:
  • Ask questions when anything is not clear
  • Engage in the discussions
  • Fully participate in in-class exercises

WEEK 1 - a rough guide

  • Lecture 1 - Foundations
  • Geologic time
  • Minerals and rocks
  • The dynamic Earth
  • Lecture 2 - Earth as a planet in the solar system
  • The Earth and the Moon
  • Other terrestrial planets
  • The Jovian (giant) planets
  • Lecture 3 - Introduction to Seismology
  • Planets contd.
  • History of seismology
  • Seismology as a tool for understanding earthquakes
  • Seismology as a tool of measuring the Earth’s interior
  • Problems: Gravitational force, planetary motions
  • Scalars, vectors and differential operators


  • Lecture 4 - Geomagnetism
  • Guest speaker on geomagnetism: Dr. Ted Lilley
  • Elastic moduli
  • Lecture 6 - Equation of motion
  • P and S waves
  • Free oscillations of the Earth
  • Ray theory
  • Wave propagation in high frequency approximation, ray parameter
  • Lecture 5 - Elasticity theory
  • Strain and stress
  • P and S waves
  • Elastic moduli
  • Problems set
  • Earthquake location


  • Lecture 7 - Wiechert-Herglotz inversion
  • (of time-distance curves)
  • Travel time curves
  • Lecture 8 - Mohorovičić’s inversion
  • The nomenclature of seismic phases
  • Travel time curves
  • On the forward problem solved by Mohorovičić and the discovery of Moho
  • Lecture 9 - The geophysical inverse theory
  • Guest Speaker: Dr. Malcolm Sambridge
  • Seismic tomography
  • Problems set
  • Determination of focal mechanisms


  • Lecture 10 - Earthquake seismology
  • Tectonic and volcanic earthquakes
  • Seismic sources
  • Seismic moment tensor
  • Earthquake magnitude
  • Focal mechanisms
  • Adams-Williamson equation and

the determination of density

  • Moment tensor inversion
  • Lecture 11 - Internal structure of the Earth I
  • Cntd. Seismic sources, moment tensor inversion
  • Earth’s structure reference models: 1D versus 3D
  • The crust, the mantle and the discontinuities
  • Lecture 12 - Internal structure of the Earth II
  • The core mantle boundary region
  • The core and the Earth’s magnetic field
  • Structure of the inner core and anisotropy hypothesis
  • Is the differential rotation of the inner core real?