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Mathematical Modeling of Earth's Dynamical Systems:
A Primer
Rudy Slingerland & Lee Kump

Paperback | 2011 | $57.50 | £48.95 | ISBN: 9780691145143
248 pp. | 5 x 8 | 3 halftones. 71 line illus. 9 tables. 1 map.
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Syllabus for Mathematical Modeling in the Geosciences

bookjacket A Solutions Manual is available for qualified professors who have adopted this book in a course. To request a manual, enter ISBN: 9780691145136 at

Mathematical Modeling of Earth's Dynamical Systems gives earth scientists the essential skills for translating chemical and physical systems into mathematical and computational models that provide enhanced insight into Earth's processes. Using a step-by-step method, the book identifies the important geological variables of physical-chemical geoscience problems and describes the mechanisms that control these variables.

This book is directed toward upper-level undergraduate students, graduate students, researchers, and professionals who want to learn how to abstract complex systems into sets of dynamic equations. It shows students how to recognize domains of interest and key factors, and how to explain assumptions in formal terms. The book reveals what data best tests ideas of how nature works, and cautions against inadequate transport laws, unconstrained coefficients, and unfalsifiable models. Various examples of processes and systems, and ample illustrations, are provided. Students using this text should be familiar with the principles of physics, chemistry, and geology, and have taken a year of differential and integral calculus.

Mathematical Modeling of Earth's Dynamical Systems helps earth scientists develop a philosophical framework and strong foundations for conceptualizing complex geologic systems.

  • Step-by-step lessons for representing complex Earth systems as dynamical models
  • Explains geologic processes in terms of fundamental laws of physics and chemistry
  • Numerical solutions to differential equations through the finite difference technique
  • A philosophical approach to quantitative problem-solving
  • Various examples of processes and systems, including the evolution of sandy coastlines, the global carbon cycle, and much more
  • Professors: A supplementary Instructor's Manual is available for this book. It is restricted to teachers using the text in courses. For information on how to obtain a copy, refer to:


"The authors do a good job of deriving the mathematical models from physical considerations, and then showing how the equations can be solved by finite difference methods."--Choice

"Where was this book when I was in university? . . . I enjoyed this book very much and recommend it to students and researchers with an interest in this field."--Ray Wood, Leading Edge


"Written by two of the leading researchers in the field, Mathematical Modeling of Dynamical Systems is a must-read for all geoscientists, and not just students. This excellent primer offers bite-size gems of insight into the world of quantitative geosciences applications, covers both mathematical and modeling concepts, and offers practical exercises to build expertise. Course notes and methodologies will be improving across our academies."--James P. M. Syvitski, executive director, Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System

"This wonderful, timely, and necessary book is a real winner. I appreciated the amazing range of geoscience topics as well as the book's structure--each of the chapters begins with an abstract-like summary preview, followed by examples of translations, before delving more deeply into topics. The authors should be congratulated for a brilliant book and pedagogical milestone."--Gidon Eshel, Bard College

"I am impressed with the overall philosophy of the book. The authors' definition of modeling is quite lucid and there is a useful breadth to the problems presented. The book's approach is pedagogically valuable for geoscience students, and fills a niche that exists between the more traditional geophysics math methods and Earth system dynamics."--Stephen Griffies, physical scientist, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab

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