Physics of the Earth's Interior

Physics of the Earth's Interior

1st Edition - January 1, 1959

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  • Author: Beno Gutenberg
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483282121

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Physics of the Earth's Interior embraces such a wide range of properties and processes that the space available in one volume imposes severe limitations on their discussion. Moreover, the uneven familiarity of any geophysicist with the many fields of natural science which are involved favors their uneven treatment. For these reasons, the author has limited discussions related to gravity, terrestrial magnetism, tectonic processes, and the history of the earth, to such problems which, if solved, may give information on the earth's interior. On the other hand, seismological investigations are discussed only insofar as they bear upon the structure of the earth and the physics of its interior; seismology is to be treated in detail in another monograph of this series. The book contains nine chapters and begins with a discussion of methods of investigating the earth's interior, and the accuracy of the results. This is followed by separate chapters on the structure of the earth; the crust, mantle, and core; temperature and thermal processes in the earth; density, pressure, gravity, and flattening in the earth; elastic constants, and elastic processes; and nonelastic processes in the earth.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

    List of Frequently Used Symbols

    1. Fundamental Problems and Fundamental Data

    1.1 Methods of Investigating the Earth's Interior, and the Accuracy of the Results

    1.2 The Figure of the Earth and Related Constants

    1.3 Gravity at Sea Level

    1.4 Astronomical Data


    2. The Structure of the Earth

    2.1 Historical Review

    2.2 The Boundaries of the Major Units of the Earth

    2.3 Causes for Discontinuities in the Earth


    3. The Earth's Crust

    3.1 Definitions

    3.2 Methods of Determining Velocities in Layers and Their Thickness

    3.3 Velocities in Crustal Layers and Depths of Discontinuities Based on Observation of Elastic Waves

    3.4 Effects of the Crust on Amplitudes of Reflected Waves PP

    3.5 Conclusions from Channel Waves and Microseisms

    3.6 Conclusions from Dispersion and Extinction of Surface Waves

    3.7 Gravity Anomalies and the Structure of the Earth's Crust

    3.8 Results Based on Several Methods

    3.8.1 The "Roots of Mountains"

    3.8.2 The "Boundary" of the Pacific Basin; the "Andésite Line"

    3.8.3 The Earthquake Belts

    3.8.4 Transition from Oceanic to Continental Crust

    3.8.5 Disturbance of Isostasy by Removal or Addition of Loads at the Surface

    3.9 Causes for Discontinuities in the Crust


    4. The Mantle of the Earth

    4.1 Subdivisions of the Mantle

    4.2 Region B from the Mohorovicic Discontinuity to about 200 km Depth. The "20°-Discontinuity"

    4.3 Region C between about 200 and 950 km Depth

    4.4 The Mantle between a Depth of about 950 km and the Core Boundary (Region D)


    5. The Core

    5.1 General Discussion of Travel Times through the Core, and of the Resulting Wave Velocities

    5.2 The Outer Core (Region E)

    5.3 The Transition Zone in the Core (Region F)

    5.4 The Inner Core (Region G)

    5.5 State and Composition of the Core

    5.6 The Earth's Magnetic Field and the Core


    6. Temperature and Thermal Processes in the Earth

    6.1 Temperature and Temperature Gradients at the Earth's Surface

    6.1.1 Temperatures at the Surface

    6.1.2 Periodic Variations of the Temperature in the Uppermost Portion of the Crust

    6.1.3 Thermal Gradients in Continents

    6.1.4 Thermal Gradients in Ocean Bottoms

    6.2 Thermal Conductivity in the Earth

    6.2.1 Thermal Conductivity in the Crust

    6.2.2 "Thermal Conductivity" in the Mantle

    6.2.3 Thermal Conductivity in the Core

    6.3 Heat Flow through the Earth's Surface

    6.4 Heat Emitted by Volcanoes and Heat Generated by Earthquake Waves

    6.5 Generation of Heat in the Earth

    6.6 The Melting Points of Materials in the Earth

    6.7 Calculated Temperature Changes in the Earth during its History

    6.8 Estimated Temperatures in the Earth

    6.9 Possibility of Molten Portions in the Upper Mantle; Roots of Volcanoes


    7. Density, Pressure, Gravity, and Flattening in the Earth

    7.1 The Mean Density of the Earth

    7.2 Equations Used in the Determination of the Density in the Earth as a Function of Depth

    7.3 Assumed Continuous Density-Depth Curves

    7.4 Density-Depth Curves Assuming Straight Lines Separated by Discontinuities

    7.5 Density-Depth Curves on the Assumption that the Earth Consists of Homogeneous Shells

    7.6 General Results Related to the Problems of the Density in the Earth

    7.6.1 The Change in Density at the Core Boundary

    7.6.2 Density of Materials under High Pressure

    7.7 Estimated Densities in the Earth

    7.8 Gravity in the Earth

    7.9 The Pressure in the Earth

    7.10 Flattening of Near-Equipotential Ellipsoidic Surfaces in the Earth


    8. Elastic Constants, and Elastic Processes in the Earth

    8.1 Elastic Constants and Love's Numbers

    8.2 The Earth's Free Nutation. Latitude Variations

    8.3 Tides of the Solid Earth

    8.4 Free Vibrations of the Earth

    8.5 Numerical Values of Love's Numbers

    8.6 The Rigidity in the Earth

    8.7 The Bulk Modulus in the Earth

    8.8 Poisson's Ratio in the Earth

    8.9 Young's Modulus and Lame's Constant A in the Earth


    9. Nonelastic Processes in the Earth

    9.1 Theoretical Treatment of Nonelastic Processes in the Earth

    9.2 Attenuation of Elastic Waves in the Earth

    9.3 The Strength Resisting Flow Processes (Yield Point)

    9.4 "Viscosity" of the Earth's Outer Layers. Postglacial Uplift

    9.5 Flow in the Deep Portions of the Earth

    9.6 Strain-Rebound Characteristics of Earthquake Series and Aftershocks

    9.7 Convection Currents in the Earth

    9.8 Movements of Large Crustal Blocks Relative to Each Other

    9.9 Secular Movements of the Poles

    9.9.1 Movements of the Poles of Rotation

    9.9.2 Movements of the Magnetic Poles Relative to the Continents


    Author Index

    Subject Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 252
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1959
  • Published: January 1, 1959
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483282121

About the Author

Beno Gutenberg

About the Editor

J. Van Mieghem

Affiliations and Expertise

Royal Belgian Meteorological Institute, Uccle, Belgium

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