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2021-2022 College Catalog 
2021-2022 College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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GLG 102IN - Historical Geology [SUN# GLG 1102]

4 Credits, 6 Contact Hours
3 lecture periods 3 lab periods

Introduction to the physical, chemical, and biological history of the Earth, including hands-on identification and classification of major fossil groups according to their phyla, ages, and ecosystems. Includes scientific measurements, maps, scientific method, history of historical geology (Uniformitarianism, Catastrophism); identification and interpretation of rocks and sedimentary textures, environments, and structures; geologic time, the evolution of life, planetary evolution, plate tectonics, evolution of the Earth’s surface (including the physical environments, resources, and life of the Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic); and human evolution and human impacts. Also includes a field trip to observe rocks and structures and interpret geologic history and fossils in a natural outdoor setting.

Gen-Ed: Meets AGEC - SCI; Meets CTE - M&S.

Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Utilize scientific methods to formulate and answer questions.
  2. Describe major concepts in historical geology, radiometric dating techniques, and the organization of the geologic timescale.
  3. Describe the formation and evolution of life on earth through identification and classification of major fossil groups.
  4. Describe plate tectonics, associated phenomena, its role in the evolution of Earth’s surface, the formation of geologic resources, and the evolution of life.
  5. Explain the necessary conditions and processes involved in the formation of igneous, metamorphic, and (especially) sedimentary rocks.
  6. Observe and interpret geologic formations in a natural, outdoor setting.

Performance Objectives:
  1. Perform activities to demonstrate improvement in the general education goals of communication and critical thinking.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to measure mass, length, and volume in metrics using appropriate scientific measurement tools.
  3. Use and interpret geologic maps and cross-sections. 
  4. Use the scientific method and appropriate analytic and synthesis skills to evaluate rock composition, texture, and structures in order to interpret geologic processes and related biological processes.
  5. Discuss development of major concepts in historical geology, including modern positions on “Uniformitarianism” and “Catastrophism”.
  6. Describe the scope of geologic time, including major subdivisions of eras and periods, relative dating using fossils, and the nature of geochronometric measurements.
  7. Recognize the characteristics of the major rock types and their constituent minerals, with an emphasis on sedimentary rocks and structures.
  8. Describe the principles of plate tectonics, giving examples of plate interactions that create various mountain building episodes, unconformities, advances of shallow seas, and recurring Ice Ages throughout Earth’s history. 
  9. Explain scientific theories of the origin of life and the evolution of organisms, including the major trends through geologic time.
  10. Describe the physical evolution of the universe, galaxy, solar system, and planets, especially the Earth.
  11. Describe the physical, chemical, and biological evolution of the Earth’s surface, considering the interactions between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere.
  12. Understand the contribution of plate tectonics to the interpretation of geologic processes, mountain building, climate, and the geologic history of North America.
  13. Describe life on earth, including its geologic history, classification, evolution, and evolutionary relationships.
  14. Relate the occurrence of natural resources to the geologic history of the Earth
  15. Identify and classify the major fossil groups according to their ages and ecosystems using hands-on field methods and references.
  16. Discuss the evolution and impacts of humans with respect to the geologic history of the earth
  17. Observe geologic and paleontologic evidence and interpret the geologic history of surface and subsurface earth processes in a natural, outdoor setting.

  1. Scientific Measurements, Maps and the Scientific Method
    1. Maps on a sphere (Earth)
    2. Metric measurements and conversion factors
    3. The scientific method
  2. Introduction to Historical Geology
    1. Development of early geologic concepts (superposition, uniformitarianism & catastrophism)
    2. Geologic time
    3. Radiometric age dating
    4. Fossils, a potential record of time and place
  3. Geologic evidence for interpreting Earth history
    1. Rock and mineral identification
    2. Sedimentary textures and structures
    3. Geologic maps
  4. Plate Tectonics
    1. Development of theory from continental drift to sea-floor spreading
    2. Evidence supporting plate tectonics
    3. Plate tectonic processes (divergence, convergence, and transform)
  5. Precambrian - Archean
    1. The formation of the universe, galaxy, solar system and planets
    2. Formation of Earth and Moon
    3. Early chemical and thermal evolution of Earth
    4. Origin and evolution of atmosphere and hydrosphere
    5. Evidence of early crust formation and oldest dated crustal rocks –from cratons
    6. Early continents and ocean basins
    7. Prokaryotes (± 4 bya to present) and oldest fossils (3.5 bya)
    8. Natural resources, such as gold, uranium, and diamond deposits, formed in Archean
  6. Proterozoic
    1. Mountain building episodes
    2. Eukaryotes (± 2.7 bya to present) and oldest eukaryotic fossils (1.2 bya)
    3. Ocean basins and epeiric seas
    4. Ice Age
    5. Great Unconformity
    6. Natural resources, such as iron and other metal deposits, formed in Proterozoic
  7. Paleozoic
    1. Plate tectonic examples of convergence and divergence of continents
    2. Cratonic sequences (onlap and offlap of shallow seas onto cratons)
    3. Invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds
    4. Land plants, conifers, and flowering plants
    5. Ice Age
    6. Major extinction event
    7. Natural resources, such as coal, oil, and iron, formed in Paleozoic
  8. Mesozoic
    1. Plate tectonic example of Atlantic sea-floor spreading
    2. Evolution of dinosaurs
    3. Evolution of conifers and flowering plants
    4. Extinction event
    5. Natural resources, such as uranium, copper, coal, and limestone, formed in Mesozoic
  9. Cenozoic
    1. Plate tectonic example of mountain-building episodes
    2. Evolution of mammals
    3. Pleistocene glaciation and human evolution
    4. Natural resources, such as copper, coal, oil, sand, and gravel, formed in Cenozoic
  10. Organic Evolution
    1. Historic development of the theory of evolution
    2. Evidence from the fossil record
    3. Evidence from genetics
    4. Organic evolution of the species is a fact
    5. Identification of major fossil phyla (trilobites, cnidaria, bryozoa, brachiopods, mollusks, echinoderms, protozoans, plants, and vertebrates) and trends through geologic time
  11. Interpretations of Earth history and trends
    1. Global warming / global cooling cycles
    2. Human population expansion
    3. Consumption of nonrenewable natural resources and fossil fuels

Effective Term:
Fall 2016

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