Introduction to Quantitative Geology

Welcome to the website for the Introduction to Quantitative Geology course at the University of Helsinki. This course introduces students to programming in Python and how to study a handful of geoscientific problems using a bit of geology, math, and computing. The course is aimed at advanced undergraduate students in geology or geophysics, and this site hosts the materials for the second half of the course. The first half of the course is exclusively on programming in Python, and you can find those materials on the geo-Python course website. More info on this course can be found below. Enjoy!

Course goals

This course aims to:

  1. Introduce students to the Python programming language and its application to modelling Earth science data/processes
  2. Develop basic programming skills through analysis of fundamental equations used in the Earth sciences
  3. Present some established techniques for comparing geologic data to numerical model predictions

Course format

The majority of this course will be spent in front of a computer learning to program in the Python language and working on exercises related to geological processes and data. This year we will meet mainly in traditional lecture classrooms, but you are expected to work on your own laptop, or find a suitable substitute. The lecture rooms will have power available.

During Teaching Period I, we will be meeting together with the Automating GIS processes course and focus on learning to program in Python. In Period II we will shift our focus to geological applications of the Python skills learned in Period I.

The computer exercises will focus on developing basic programming skills using the Python language and applying those skills to topics from the video lecture material. Typical exercises will involve a brief introduction followed by topical computer-based tasks. At the end of the exercises, you may be asked to submit answers to relevant questions, some related plots, and/or Python codes you have written or used. You are encouraged to discuss and work together with other students on the laboratory exercises, however the laboratory summary write-ups that you submit must be completed individually and must clearly reflect your own work.


Class Date Theme
8 30.10.2017 Basic geostatistics
9 6.11.2017 Comparing predictions to observed values
10 13.11.2017 The diffusion equation; Hillslope sediment transport
11 20.11.2017 Fluvial incision and rock uplift: The advection/wave equation
12 27.11.2017 Viscous flow of rock and ice: (Non-)Newtonian flow equations
13 4.12.2017 Quantitative thermochronology: Linking ages to processes I
14 11.12.2017 Quantitative thermochronology: Linking ages to processes II

For the schedule in Period I (i.e., classes 1-7), please check the geo-Python website.

Open access!

Materials for this course are open to everyone. In combination with the geo-Python course, we aim to share our knowledge and help people start doing reproducible science more efficiently using Python.

Teachers: Use our stuff!

If you would like to use these materials as part of your own teaching or develop them further, we strongly support that. Please have a look at our licensing terms about how to do so.