TPG4260 - Geosystems


New from the academic year 2023/2024

Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: School exam
Grade: Letter grades

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
School exam 100/100 4 hours D

Course content

The course provides an overview of large geosystems encompassing the Solar system (water, solid earth tides, Milanovich cycles), solid Earth systems (core, mantle, crust, plate tectonics) and the atmosphere-ocean-biosystem (climate driven sedimentation, erosion, glaciation etc.). The course will introduce concepts for studying these geosystems based on mathematical models (differential equations, scale analysis, fractals, time series, complex dynamics and emergence). Concrete examples of geosystems along with their models, for example slider-block models, the Lorenz equation, sandpile models, ore tonnage, forest fires. The course will focus on topics which are relevant within geosciences, engineering and environmental applications, but provides a larger context to apply abstract reasoning in the study of geosystems.

Learning outcome

The course aims at understanding possibilities and limitations for analyzing, modeling, and controlling geosystems in mineralogical, engineering geological, hydrogeological, geotechnical and environmental investigations.

Knowledge: After fulfilling the course students will have a general knowledge of the major geosystems and their mathematical foundation. They will acquire the terminology and tools to describe and model complex systems, and will be familiar with details of selected important case studies.

Skills: The students will be capable to quantitatively describe the main geosystems. They will be able to use computer models to analyze geosystem evolution and their parameter sensitivity. They will also be able to perform simple computations and experiments. They will be able to recognize systemic interdependences in geoscience applications, and identify complex dynamics. Ideally, one will be able to design simple digital models for interacting geosystems.

General competence: The students will recognize similarities in the interaction between different geosystems and understand how abstract concepts like fractals, emergence, and complex dynamics occur in a variety of disciplines and can be used to obtain a general understanding of many processes in geoscience. They will acquire insight into the interconnectivity of geosystems. Students will understand the need to responsibly interact with complex systems in order to design sustainable applications in engineering, hydrogeology, geotechnics and environmental technology.

Learning methods and activities

Lectures, demonstrations, compulsory exercises. The course will be held in English. The course will be evaluated by a student reference group appointed at the start of the semester.

Compulsory assignments

  • Exercises

Further on evaluation

If there is a re-sit examination, the examination form may be changed from written to oral.

Course materials

Lectures are based on chapters from:

Kent C. Condie: Earth as an evolving planetary system, Elsevier, 2005.

Donald L. Turcotte: Fractals and Chaos in Geology and Geophysics, 2nd ed., Cambridge UP, 1997.

Per Bak: How nature works, Copernicus (Springer), 1996.

and variable additional sources available on Blackboard.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  SPRING 2024

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Applied Geophysics
  • Geophysics
Contact information
Course coordinator: Lecturer(s):

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Geoscience and Petroleum


Examination arrangement: School exam

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Spring ORD School exam 100/100 D 2024-05-14 09:00 PAPIR
Room Building Number of candidates
SL410 blå sone Sluppenvegen 14 3
Summer UTS School exam 100/100 D PAPIR
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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