Course Description and Overview


Course Description Semester II - 1999/2000

Course Description: The process of volcanism will be examined using observation of volcanic features and deposits on the planets and satellites. Predictions on the basis of the theory of magma ascent and eruption will be compared to these observations. Consideration will be given to the influence of different variables (e.g., gravity, composition, temperature, pressure, and atmospheric effects) on the landforms, modes of emplacement, and the geologic record of volcanism. The history of planetary volcanism, its relation to thermal evolution, and comparative planetary volcanology will also be discussed. Each week we will address these questions using the focal point of a "Thesis", that is, a statement or assertion that should be thought about, challenged, and assessed. Readings will be related to the Thesis, and the Thesis will be a guiding point for discussing the readings. Finally, we will assess the veracity or applicability of the Thesis at the end of each class.

Course Structure and Requirements: The course will consist of two parts, 1) lecture and class discussions and 2) a research paper. Each student will be responsible for a weekly presentation once in the semester on one of the Theses, as well as an oral presentation on their term paper. The grade will be allocated as follows: 1/3 each for the paper (and your oral presentation of it), your class presentation, and your class discussion contributions. There will be no exams. On the assumption that there are somewhat different backgrounds among students in the course in terms of volcanology and petrology, we will use the Encyclopedia of Volcanoes as a background 'textbook', with the main material being the specific readings from the literature for each week related to the Thesis. Students should explore the Encyclopedia of Volcanoes to the depth necessary to bring them up to speed on the various topics. Reference is made during the various weeks to the chapters that are most relevant to the topics.

Class Structure: We will meet weekly in Lincoln Field 105 at 10:30 AM-12:50 PM, Tuesdays (on two days this will be at 9:30 AM-12 on Thursdays). Each week we will consider a major Thesis in planetary volcanology (see schedule on separate sheet). Prior to a particular weekly discussion, you will be provided with a reading list and a set of general questions to focus the reading. The class will be often be introduced by a short overview presentation by myself and then we will proceed to review and discuss the readings. One or two particular readings will be called out as most significant for the class discussion and class members will be responsible for presenting a summary and leading the discussion of these papers. The class is expected to participate in the discussion on the basis of the background reading.

Research Paper: You will be responsible for writing a GRL-type (length and style) research paper on a planetary volcanological topic of your choice. The topic should be selected in consultation with the instructor. The topic should be chosen by mid-semester (March 10th), a detailed outline submitted by April 3, and the completed paper is due on April 28th, 2000. The papers will be made available to all members of the class. We will have a series of presentations on the results of each paper in our last class meeting on May 9th.

Availability of Readings: A copy of the readings will be available in boxes on a table in Lincoln Field 105. Additional copies may be made as necessary. There will be a web site where readings and other information will be posted, starting at the beginning of the semester.

Guest Colloquium Speakers: There will be several colloquium speakers this semester who will focus on topics of planetary volcanological interest. We will have an opportunity to meet with them for discussion. I will keep you informed of the schedule and details.