Jean-Philippe Avouac photoJean-Philippe Avouac Professor of Geology:Director of the Tectonics Observatory:CaltechCaltech logo
  • Ge 106 - Introduction to Structural Geology (Second Term, 9 units, offered every year)
  • This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of structural geology. It is designed mainly for students with an elementary course in geology and background in mathematics, physics and chemistry at the sophomore level. The components of the course include lectures, problem sets and a final exam. Each student will have to work on a project and give an oral presentation in class.
  • GE 121a - Advanced Field Geology (first, second, third terms, 12 units)
    • Field mapping and supporting laboratory studies in topical problems related to the geology of the southwestern United States. Course provides a breadth of experience in igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary rocks or geomorphology.


  • GE 177b - Active Tectonics (Third term, 12 units, offered every two years)
    • This course introduces a variety of techniques to describe 'quantitatively' deformation of the crust and lithosphere together with a review of the basic mechanisms governing lithospheric deformation and the seismic cycle. The emphasis is put on time scales relevant to earthquake processes (seconds to several thousand years). Conceptual and mechanical models of the earthquake cycle are introduced. The students are taught to think not only in terms of kinematics, but also in terms of stress and rheology. The labs are based on the analysis and modeling of data from real-case studies.


  • GE 277 - Active Tectonics Reading Seminar (Second term, 6 units, offered every year)
    • Key issues in active tectonics based on a review of the literature. The topic of the seminar is adjusted every year based on the students' and instructor's interest.

    Past topics:

  • Ge/ESE 298. Mentoring and Outreach (Units to be arranged, up to 12 units per year)
    • In consultation with a faculty advisor and the Caltech Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach, students may obtain credit for engaging in volunteer efforts to promote public understanding of science; to mentor and tutor young people and underserved populations; or to otherwise contribute to the diversity, equity, and inclusiveness of the scientific enterprise. Students may petition their option representative (graduate students) or academic advisor (undergraduate students) if they seek credits beyond the 12-unit limit.
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