Global survey of Earth and planetary crusts, surfaces and resources

05 61 33 25 99

Pierre-Yves MESLIN
05 61 55 66 72

planetary différentiation planetary crusts geochemical reservoirs geodynamics of planetary interiors surface evolution weathering climatic evolution multi-scale observations

Learning objectives

The exploration of the surface of planetary crusts (terrestrial planets) now combines a diversity of observations at a global or regional scale, thanks to satellite or airborne observations, which allows us to extract both compositional (e.g. chemistry, mineralogy) and geophysical (e.g. topography, gravity field, seismicity) parameters. This large-scale approach is completed by detailed observations at local (field) or macro- and microscopic scales (analyses in research laboratories or by robots).

In this course, we discuss how the variety of observations of planetary crusts and surfaces now available may be integrated to address fundamental questions regarding planetary evolution.

We will look at planetary differentiation, crustal formation, climatic evolution and weathering, landscape evolution, estimates of mineral and resources…

  • Develop multi-disciplinary and critical skills to address fundamental and up-to-date questions in planetary evolution and crust comparative planetology
  • Learn how to combine different approaches and datasets to address these questions
  • Become familiar with the use of the scientific planetary literature


Basic knowledge of Earth formation, plate tectonics, composition of the terrestrial oceanic and continental crusts.

Brief description of the course

This course will provide a general introduction to the accretion and formation of terrestrial planets, before focusing on four broad topics covering current scientific questions on planetary evolution, which will be addressed by a multi-disciplinary approach combining geophysical, petrological, geochemical, mineralogical, geomorphological and atmospheric observations.

Since they are the best known terrestrial planets, special emphasis will be given to the Earth and Mars, and comparisons to other planets and the Moon may be drawn.