Physical Geology

Physical Geology
Materials, structure, and surface features of the earth and the geologic processes involved in their development. Field trips and lab studies, use of aerial photos.
 Hours4.0 Credit, 3.0 Lecture, 2.0 Lab
 TaughtFall, Winter
 ProgramsContaining GEOL 111
Course Outcomes

Earth Materials

1. Learn the basic mineral types, how they form, and how they differ structurally.

2. Understand how minerals are put together to form rocks.

3. Learn the names and how to recognize the basic sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rock types.

Dynamics of the Hydrosphere

1. Understand the basic atmospheric and hydrologic systems and how they affect the Earth's rocks.

2. Learn how man has influenced these systems and what the possible future outcomes of this influence might be.

Dynamics of the Tectonosphere

1. Learn the basic workings of the Earth's tectonic system and the evidences that support the plate tectonic theory.

2. Understand how to interpret geologic structures and rocks in terms of the tectonic system.


Learn some fundamental skills in preparation to conduct research and ultimately write research papers in other classes, including:

1. Using online databases (GEOREF, Web of Science) to obtain information on a particular topic.

2. Using online resources (Refworks) to manage and format references.

3. Reading articles in the primary geologic literature and drawing out primary information such as the topic of and article and its conclusions even if the student is not prepared (at this stage) to understand the methodology employed.

4. Appreciate the need to properly format cited literature in a research paper.

5. Learn the content and proper voice for the abstract of a research paper.

Introduction to Earth Systems and Heat Transfer

1. Learn or review the large scale features of the Earth's interior and exterior, including the basic features of the tectonic and hydrological systems.

2. Appreciate the role of heat transfer, and in particular convection, in making both the hydrosphere and tectonosphere dynamic.

Geology, the Environment, and Humankind

1. Understand the nature of fossil fuel resources, their origin, and the magnitude of reserves of coal, oil, natural gas, etc.

2. Understand the nature of metallic resources, including their origin, distribution across the globe, and the magnitude of reserves.

3. Appreciate the environmental consequences of fossil fuel and metallic resource extraction.

4. Become aware of the major hazards posed by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and their attendant phenomena.

5. Understand the fundamental processes that regulate the climate, as well as the role of human activity in climate change.