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This course introduces advanced topics relevant to petrology & tectonics such as the evolution of the mantle and lithosphere, its geochemical evolution, crustal growth processes, and the structure and mechanics of collisional orogens.

The course introduces a wide range of concepts necessary for integrating mantle and lithospheric processes into a plate tectonic framework, such as the i) theoretical basis for conceptualizing mantle flow and circulation; ii) theoretical basis for understanding heat flow in the crust; iii) exhumation mechanisms of deep-seated crust related to orogeny; and iv) historical development of paired crust-mantle geochemical evolution. The course also provides an introduction to the use and application of software tools needed for the numerical and analogue modelling of these parameters.

  • Course structure

    The course is equivalent to a full-time study load for a five week period. Teaching is conducted through lectures, laboratories, seminars, and via a field component. Weekly seminars will be based on reading and discussion of articles, as well as presentation of written and oral summaries.

    After completion of this course, students should be able to:
    • Apply and critically evaluate the key physical theories used to constrain the properties of the mantle and lithosphere and their mechanical behavior;
    • Use Rayleigh’s equation to model different mantle flow regimes in a plate-tectonic framework;
    • Outline the thermodynamical constraints associated with heat-flow in the Earth’s crust, and apply numerical modeling to constrain realistic thermal evolutionary scenarios;
    • Describe and interpret the geochemical evolution of the Earth’s mantle and lithosphere as a paired system within the plate-tectonic paradigm.
    • Construct and numerically analyze realistic plate tectonic scenarios through analogue modelling.

    Download GG8116 course description (30 Kb)

    Teaching format

    The course is designed to provide the theory which enables numerical modelling of specific aspects of Earth crust and lithosphere evolution. The course therefore requires:
    • Reading of course literature. This includes a topical manuscript(s) per week and providing a written synopsis (1 A4 page) per article.
    • Weekly numerical or analogue modelling assignment. These laboratories are linked to the weekly lecture and reading assignments, and include using specific software to numerically model or analogue model geologically plausible scenarios. Each modelling assignment includes delivery of your conclusions in a written report.
    • Student-lead seminar. Each student will (co)lead the weekly discussion of the seminar topic based on the required reading. Success leading a seminar includes providing a short overview of the paper, summarizing its major points, and highlighting its strengths/weaknesses, and identifying points which require further clarification during seminar discussion.
    • Seminar participation. Participation in seminar discussion is required - a demonstrated understanding of the discussion topic via dialogue (critical assessment, query, clarification, etc.) will be used to assess your participation.


    There is no final exam for this course. The final grade will be based on the following:
    Seminar presentations 20%
    an oral summary of the assigned article will be assessed with group and instructor feedback. A point system will be used.
    Seminars 35%
    consisting equally of i) a written summary of each article (1 A4 page maximum) due at the beginning of each seminar, ii) demonstrated knowledge and comprehension of reading assignments via active participation in discussion and direct queries, and iii) leading the seminar demonstrating preparation, e.g.– pre-defined questions/points of discussion. A point system will be used.
    Laboratories 45%
    reports of the numerical or analogue modelling laboratories will be graded with points and should demonstrate your understanding of the exercise, identify the important variables, and include a discussion of its limitations and advantages. 

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    Reading material will be provided on the first day of class.

    The following articles are required reading for each weekly seminar.

    Please do the reading prior to the week’s lecture. You will find these articles on the course Mondo site about 1 week before class begins.

    Week 1. Furlong & Chapman, 2013. Heat flow, heat generation, and the thermal state of the lithosphere. Annual Reviews of Earth & Planetary Sciences 41, 385-410.

    Week 2. Poblet & Lislel, 2012. Kinematic evolution and structural styles of fold-and-thrust belts. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 349, 1-24.

    Week 3. Ring et al., 1999. Exhumation processes. In: Ring, U., Brandon, M. T., Lister, G., Willetts. S. D. (eds) Exhumation Processes: Normal Faulting, Ductile Flow and Erosion. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 154, 1-27.

    Week 4. Ring,U., 2010. The Hellenic Subduction System: High-Pressure Metamorphism, Exhumation, Normal Faulting, and Large-Scale Extension. Annual Reviews of Earth & Planetary Sciences 38, 45-76.

  • Course reports

    Course evaluations allow the possibility to affect and take responsibility for your own learning and gives important information for our work with pedagogical development.

    It's important that all students complete the course evaluations after each course, it gives the Department the opportunity to improve the courses' quality.

    The course evaluation is composed of a number of questions and specific questions for each course. If you, as a student, want to contribute with more course specific questions you may send them to

    If you haven't received the course evaluation for your finished course, or if you have other questions regarding course evaluations at IGV please contact

    Course evaluation = student's review of the course
    Course report = course leader's reflections about the review

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