UCL Earth Sciences

GEOLGG23 Deep Earth & Planetary Modelling

GEOLGG23 Deep Earth & Planetary Modelling

This MSc provides an introduction to geohazards, research methods and field techniques, together with advanced courses in seismology, volcanology, hydrogeological hazards and meteorology.


The course aims to provide an understanding of key topics in modern techniques to simulate the deep Earth, with particular emphasis to atomistic computer simulations. Specific examples from current research will be presented.


  • an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of modern deep Earth research techniques
  • critical evaluation of current and competing theories for the dynamics of the solid-Earth
  • appreciation for melting behaviour in the mantle as a trigger to volcanism over different time scales
  • analysis and synthesis of separate lines of investigation from observational geophysics to laboratory experimentation and numerical modeling of deep-Earth properties
  • synthesis of these lines of investigation into models of geodynamical process

Practical and Transferable Outcomes:

  • critical evaluation of information, ideas and interpretations;
  • use of the various information sources;
  • effective communication of information in writing.


The course covers current understanding of dynamics and properties of the deep Earth using observational, laboratory and theoretical techniques, and includes:

  • Current computer simulation methods used to study the properties of core and mantle materials.
  • the temperature, light element content,  and physical properties of the core
  • complexity at the core-mantle boundary
  • deep mantle convection and geodynamics of plate subduction
  • partial melting behaviour of the mantle and volcanic response
  • the deep carbon cycle
  • melting models for large scale meteorite impacts
Title Deep Earth and Planetary Modelling 
Coordinator Prof Dario Alfe
Other Contributors Prof. John BrodholtDr. David DobsonProf. Lars Stixrude and Dr. Dominic Fortes
Term 2
Credits 15
Written Exam 40%
Coursework 60% (4 practical reports of 1000 words each)
Maths & Stats Content and Requirement  
Total Number of Hours of Student Work 188 hours
Hours of Lectures/Seminars 30 hours
Hours of Practicals/Problem Classes 10 hours
Hours of Tutorials 0
Days of Fieldwork 0
Other None
Annual Monitoring download pdf
Categorizing Student Performance Levels download pdf
Moodle page Moodle page