Geodynamics 101: Numerical models

The main goal of this short course is to provide an introduction into the basic concepts of numerical modelling of solid Earth processes in the Earth’s crust and mantle in a non-technical manner. We discuss the building blocks of a numerical code and how to set up a model to study a simple geodynamic problem. Emphasis is put on what numerical models are and how they work while taking into account the advantages and limitations of the different methods.

We go through the following topics:
(1) The basic equations used in geodynamic modelling studies, what they mean, and their assumptions
(2) A brief introduction to the various numerical methods
(3) The importance of benchmarking a code
(4) How to go from a geological problem to the model setup
(5) How to set initial and boundary conditions
(6) How to interpret the model results
We will use a simple example from the code ASPECT ( to illustrate points 4-6 through an in-class demonstration. Participants are not required to bring a laptop or have any previous knowledge of geodynamic numerical modelling.

Armed with the knowledge of a typical numerical modelling workflow, participants will be better able to critically assess geodynamic numerical modelling papers and they will learn how to start with numerical modelling.

This short course is run by early career geodynamicists. It is dedicated to everyone who is interested in, but not necessarily experienced with, geodynamic numerical models; in particular early career scientists (BSc, MSc, PhD students and postdocs) and people who are new to the field of geodynamic modelling.

Co-organized by GD10
Convener: Iris van ZelstECSECS | Co-conveners: Fabio CrameriECSECS, Juliane DannbergECSECS, Anne GlerumECSECS, Adina E. PusokECSECS, Cedric THIEULOT
Fri, 30 Apr, 14:30–15:30 (CEST)