Dynamic Earth




INSTRUCTOR: Prof. J. Michael Rhodes, Morrill IV, Room 163

(Phone 545-2841; E-mail:

(Office hours, Morrill IV, Room 163: Tuesday and Thursday 10:00-12:00 am)

Teaching Assistant: Noah Slovin, Morrill IV, Room 261

(E-mail :

(Office hours, Morrill IV, Room 261: Monday and Wednesday 10:30 - 12:30)

 TEXTBOOK: Dynamic Earth (GEO-105) by McGeary/Plummer/Abbott custom published by McGraw Hill (Cost ~ $64 new).


 The earth is a dynamic planet, constantly creating oceans and mountain ranges, accompanied by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. This course explores the ideas that led to the scientific revolution of plate tectonics; how plate tectonics provides a comprehensive theory explaining how and why volcanoes and earthquakes occur; and the hazards that they produce and their impact on humans. Emphasis is placed on current earthquake and volcanic events, as well as on momentous events from the past, such as the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, the recent devastating earthquakes and tsunanis in Sumatra and Japan, the 79 A.D. eruption of Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii, and the more recent eruptions of Mount St. Helens (Washington), Pinitubo (Philippines) and Kilauea (Hawaii).