Further Reading

Turcotte, Donald L., and Gerald Schubert. Geodynamics. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

geodynamics Geodynamics is the branch of geophysical science that deals with forces and physical processes in the interior of the Earth necessary to understand plate tectonics and many other geological phenomena. This field of geology typically involves the macroscopic analysis of forces associated with a process and may include mathematical or numerical modeling. Geodynamics is a quantitative science closely related to geophysics, tectonics, and structural geology with problems including assessment of the forces associated with mantle convection, plate tectonics, heat flow, mountain building, erosion, volcanism, fluid flow, and other phenomena. The aim of many studies in geodynamics is to assess the relationships between different processes, such as to determine the influence of mantle convection on plate movements or to assess plate motions in one area with deformation in another. It is contrasted with many other types of geological studies that tend to be either static, analyzing only present and past states, or kinematic, which analyze the history of motions without a quantitative assessment of the forces involved.

Geodynamics is largely concerned with consideration of the fundamental physical processes that drive plate tectonics and how to interpret signatures of the products of plate interactions. To achieve these goals geodynamics typically takes a continuum mechanical approach to understanding stress and strain in solid materials, and takes a quantitative approach to modeling flexure of materials, and then applies this to studies of the Earth's lithosphere. Studies of heat transfer form a major component of the field of geodynamics. Heat is produced within the Earth and may be transferred by conduction, convection, or advection. Studying heat flow and transfer equations is necessary to understand the role of these different mechanisms in the Earth. Heat transfer and flow and the temperature of Earth materials all play major roles in how the mantle behaves and in how internal processes drive plate tectonics on the surface.

Measurements of gravity and magnetic fields can yield information about the structure and composition of materials at depth. To obtain realistic interpretations of gravity and magnetic anomalies and their causes, it is first necessary to understand such concepts as gravitational acceleration, the geoid, gravity fields of masses at depth, and techniques to model these physical processes.

Fluid mechanics falls in the realm of geodynam-ics, including flow in the asthenosphere, flow of

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