Anno Accademico 2022/2023

  • Docente: Giulio Viola
  • Crediti formativi: 6
  • SSD: GEO/03
  • Lingua di insegnamento: Inglese
  • Moduli: Giulio Viola (Modulo 1) Gianluca Vignaroli (Modulo 2)
  • Modalità didattica: Convenzionale - Lezioni in presenza (Modulo 1) Convenzionale - Lezioni in presenza (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Laurea Magistrale in Geologia e territorio (cod. 9073)

Conoscenze e abilità da conseguire

The course analyzes the mechanisms and processes that shape the structure of the Earth and steer its complex evolution. It provides a sound description of its thermal evolution and the mechanics of deformation of crust and mantle. The course focuses particular attention on the evolution of plate tectonic boundaries at different spatial and temporal scales, with an emphasis on their classic rheological end-member behaviours and the geologic features and processes associated therein.


By combining a balanced theory- and exercise-based approach, students will learn the subject by:

  • Comprehensively analyzing the evolution, mechanics and rheology of the Earth as a whole and of its key tectonic constituents such as divergent, convergent and wrenching systems, from the lithospheric scale down to local and outcrop-scales.
  • Carefully assessing the mechanisms responsible for plate movements (e.g., the Earth as a heat transfer machine, the dynamics of the Earth mantle and plate-driving forces) and strain record by large-scale structures (oceanic basins and cycle of the oceanic lithosphere, mountain systems and continental growth etc.).
  • Recognizing, describing and evaluating plate tectonic and other orogenic processes through time and space by the study of reference examples from the globe.


Selected topics:

- The paradygm of plate tectonics and concise analysis of the basic physical parameters steering the geodynamic behaviour of the Earth (Pressure; Temperature; Strain rate; Presence of fluids and their influence on rock rheology; Geological Time); Earth structure and its dynamic behavior in space and through time; Driving forces behind the dynamic Earth (mantle flow, heat flow, lithosphere strength profiles, slab pull and ridge push, tectonic systems with destructive plate boundaries and subduction zones, constructive plate boundaries and oceanization, conservative plate boundaries and shallow earthquakes; plate movements, plate isostasy, obduction, island-arc/continent collision, continent/continent collision, intracontinental collision; Deformation of the Crust and Mantle).

- Chosen examples of important geodynamic provinces of the Earth as a way to study in a comprehensive and holistic way the functioning of our Planet: Oman as example of an obduction orogen; the Apennines as an example of dynamic orogenic prism; the Himalaya, as an example of continent-continent complex collisional system; Southeast Asia, as an example of extrusion tectonics.

- Geodynamics, its relevance to society and its implications: Geodynamics and landforms: interaction and feedback between regional uplift, paleoclimate, and tectonic activity: case histories from the central Apennines; Geodynamics and seismic hazard: seismogenetic tectonic structures located along plate boundaries: examples from the Alps/Apennines and from North Victoria Land (Antarctica), among others; central Iran as an example of intraplate seismic deformation; Geodynamics and metamorphic natural resources: metamorphic and structural controls on the development and localization of secondary minerals; from marbles to serpentinites: when the building stones are the records of a complex tectono-metamorphic history.


This being an advanced course, it will rely on the study of specific scientific papers and book chapters that will be suggested to the class in due time during the course.

Metodi didattici

The course will be held in English. The course will not be a classic overview of the main contents of Tectonics and Geodynamics. Rather, the lecturers, once they'll have provided a sufficiently strong knowledge background, will cover a number of chosen topics in depth through seminars, common reading of scientific papers and open, interactive class discussions. The active participation of students to the learning environment will be sought, encouraged and appreciated.

Modalità di verifica e valutazione dell'apprendimento

Students will be evaluated based on:

- Assesment of a mid-term assignment, such as, for example, the detailed study of a research paper and its open critical discussion in front of the lecturers and the class (50% of the final grade).

- Final oral examination (50% of the final grade).

Orario di ricevimento

Consulta il sito web di Giulio Viola

Consulta il sito web di Gianluca Vignaroli


Lotta contro il cambiamento climatico

L'insegnamento contribuisce al perseguimento degli Obiettivi di Sviluppo Sostenibile dell'Agenda 2030 dell'ONU.