05-BGW-PP1 Physical Principles of Geosciences I

Representative Katrin Huhn-Frehers

Learning Contents:

This module teaches the physical fundamentals necessary for the understanding of many geoscientific processes. This implies that in the context of the events of `Physics I` physical foundations of classical mechanics, i.a. Newton´s axioms, laws of conservation of energy and momentum, motion of extended bodies) and optics (including ray optics, lenses: refraction, diffraction and interference, optical instruments). These are applied and deepened in two experiments each from the two subject areas in the ´Physikpraktikum-I´. Moreover, these physical principles serve to better understand the physical processes that shape the shape of the earth and give insight into the physical structure of the earth. This knowledge of the ´physics of the earth´ is taught using the example of knowledge about the structure of the earth, plate tectonics and wave propagation in the underground (seismology).

Learning Outcomes, Targeted Competencies:

1) Understand the physical foundations of classical mechanics and optics
2) Apply the physical principles of mechanics and optics in two experiments each (e.g., O1 lens law, O4 wavelength measurement, M1 spring, M6 torque)
3) Know the structure of the earth and the drive mechanisms that shape the shape of the earth and the principles of plate tectonics
4) Understand physical processes that provide information about the structure of the earth and about wave propagation through the earth body

Course Type 1: Lecture (L) 2.0 SWS ( 28.0 h)

Course Type 2: Lecture, Exercise (L+E) 2.5 SWS ( 35.0 h)

Course Type 3: Practical Laboratory (LP) 0.5 SWS ( 7.0 h)

Tutorial(s): with 0.0 SWS ( 0 h)


70.0 h presence time
68.0 h self-study
42.0 h exam workload

180 h total workload

Exam Type:

combination exam


exam elements: 2
SL: 1

50 % written exam
50 % written exam
0 % internship report


1) Halliday/Resnick/Walker: Physik Wiley-VCH, ISBN 3527403663

2) Lowrie, W.: Fundamentals of Geophysics. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge.

3) Clauser, Christoph: Einführung in die Geophysik. Springer Verlag

4) Frisch, W., Meschede, M. (2005). Plattentektonik. Primus-Verlag, Darmstadt