This is a partially developed activity description. It is included in the collection because it contains ideas useful for teaching even though it is incomplete.

Thermal cooling of a dike

Eric Grosfils, Geology Department, Pomona College

Topic: Volcanism, thermal diffusion
Course type: Upper level undergraduate course


The objective here would be to develop a model for the evolution of temperature in the wall rock adjacent to an intrusion. This could proceed in a number of ways and consider a number of variables (e.g., geothermal gradient, radioactivity, etc.), but at least to start I would envision this as an opportunity to implement a simple 1D (perhaps 2D) model of the process.

Learning Goals or Outcomes

The goals here are as follows:
-- introduce students to diffusion, a key geological process, using a thermal framework
-- use this to explore a key problem in volcanology, i.e. thermal heat loss surrounding an intrusion (this has many offshoots, potentially... looking at metamorphic mineral zonation, etc.)
-- expose students to a different form of numerical modeling approach than those I introduce them to already

How would you assess whether those goals have been met?

The central method for assessment would be a problem set exploring different aspects of the thermal diffusion process. Using STELLA, can students accurately predict, for different boundary conditions, the thermal perturbation introduced into host rock by an intrusion?


To develop this material I'd likely draw from the discussion of this problem formulation in Turcotte and Schubert's text "Geodynamics"