SMU Geothermal Lab

Example Graduate Courses

Geothermal Related Courses

The Geophysics Graduate Program in SMU’s Huffington Department of Earth Sciences is tailored to the research and educational goals of the student.  Specific courses offered relevant to geothermal studies vary by semester.  A sampling of some of the graduate course descriptions include:

Application of Geophysical Techniques of Geothermal Exploration:  A detailed study of geophysical techniques with applications to geothermal exploration. 

Basin Analysis: Description of modes of origin of sedimentary basins, their thermal and subsidence history, and their patterns of sediment infill. Broad examination of modern concepts of thermal modeling, stratigraphy, sedimentology and hydrocarbon generation.

Geophysical Continuum Mechanics: Stress, strain and strain-rate tensors. Rheology of geological materials. Formulation and solutions of the equations describing the elastic, plastic, viscous and thermal behavior of the earth. Application to lithospheric flexure, plate tectonics, postglacial rebound, sedimentary basin evolution, convection in the mantle, interaction with the lithosphere and comparative planetary tectonics. 

Hydrogeology: An introduction to the chemical and physical behavior of natural waters and the role of fluids in geologic processes. The application of thermodynamics, kinetics and fluid mechanics to understand such geologic processes as ore formation, sediment diagenesis, isograd formation, acid rain, global warming and groundwater contamination.

Interior of the Earth: Formation and thermal evolution of the earth, generation of the magnetic field, physical and chemical state of mantle and core, convection in the mantle and geochemical reservoirs, evolution of the crust, relationship of interior processes to lithospheric tectonics, and comparison to the other terrestrial planets. 

Isotope Geochemistry and Geochronology: Geochemistry of radiogenic and stable isotopes; evolution of Pb, Sr and Nd isotope systems; application to problems in magma genesis, geothermal studies, tectonophysics and geochronology; and application of isotopes as natural tracers.

Potential Field Methods in Geophysical Exploration: Introduction to potential theory in geophysics. Emphasis on gravity and magnetic techniques with a brief introduction to heat flow and electrical methods. Basic concepts and their application to hard and soft rock exploration.

Theory of Heat Flow and Diffusion: Heat transfer theory applied to the study of the thermal field of the earth and terrestrial planets. Convection and conduction in geologic systems. Geochemistry of the heat-producing elements uranium, thorium and potassium and their  interrelationship with terrestrial heat flow.