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Physical Geology

GLG 111

Physical Geology

GLG 111

Course Description

Prerequisites: Prerequisites: READING LEVEL 2 and WRITING LEVEL 2 and MATH LEVEL 2.

Introduces the materials, structure, and processes of planet Earth. Explores the identification, formation, and interpretation of Earth materials (rocks, minerals, and sediment). Investigates properties of Earth layers and processes including plate tectonics and the breakdown and movement of materials at the surface of the Earth. Discusses human interactions including geologic resources and hazards. Field trips optional. (45-30)

Outcomes and Objectives

Demonstrate understanding of the nature of the science of geology.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the scientific method.
  • Distinguish between science and non-science.
  • Explain what is usually included in the science of geology.
  • Explain the principle of uniformitarianism.
  • Discuss how geologists investigate the Earth using models and evidence.
  • Demonstrate understanding of methods used to interpret the relative order of geologic events.
  • Solve relative ordering problems.
  • Demonstrate understanding of radiometric dating methods.
  • Solve radiometric dating problems.
  • Interpret the order of events in a geological cross-section and constrain their ages using both relative and absolute dating methods.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the geologic time scale.
  • Demonstrate understanding of common geologic representations using maps and cross-section diagrams.
  • Solve problems involving surface elevation data.

Demonstrate understanding of Earth structure.

Objectives:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the early history of Earth.
  • Interpret different representations of the major layers of Earth.
  • Construct cross-section diagrams of the major layers of Earth.
  • Compare and contrast chemical and physical properties of the major layers of Earth.
  • Demonstrate understanding of density and buoyancy related to geology.
  • Demonstrate understanding of sources of data for properties of Earth layers that we cannot sample directly.

Demonstrate understanding of Earth’s internal processes.

Objectives:

  • Identify major surface features of Earth on a map.
  • Describe tectonic and surface features at each type of plate boundary.
  • Sketch major surface and tectonic features on a map and cross-section of each type of plate boundary.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the theories of continental drift and plate tectonics.
  • Interpret plate boundary type on a map and/or cross-section given appropriate data.
  • Demonstrate understanding of graphs of temperature and pressure with depth below Earth’s surface.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the principal mechanisms by which rocks melt to produce magma.
  • Explain the formation of major types of volcanoes.
  • Explain the property of viscosity in relation to volcanic eruptions.
  • Demonstrate understanding of relationships between magma composition, magma viscosity, volcano eruptive style, volcano shape, volcanic products and hazards, and/or plate tectonic settings.
  • Demonstrate understanding of major volcanic hazards.
  • Solve problems related to risk of volcanic hazards given appropriate geologic information.
  • Demonstrate understanding of stress and strain (deformation) in relation to Earth materials.
  • Describe the formation of major types of geologic structures.
  • Identify geologic structures from photographs, models, or diagrams.
  • Use structural features to interpret stress direction and plate tectonic setting.
  • Compare and contrast major types of seismic waves by speed, ground movement, and potential to cause damage at Earth’s surface.
  • Demonstrate understanding of how the location of earthquake foci is determined.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the relationship between earthquakes, faults, and tectonic plate boundaries.
  • Explain how stress, rock strength, and friction relate to earthquakes.
  • Demonstrate understanding of earthquake magnitude and intensity.
  • Demonstrate understanding of earthquake hazards.
  • Solve problems related to risk of earthquake hazards given appropriate geologic information.

Demonstrate understanding of Earth’s external processes.

Objectives:

  • Demonstrate understanding of weathering processes and products.
  • Demonstrate understanding of sediment transport and deposition.
  • Interpret depositional environment, using evidence from characteristics of sediments or sedimentary rocks.
  • Demonstrate understanding of water resources.
  • Demonstrate understanding of processes and features of river systems.
  • Demonstrate understanding of flood hazards.
  • Demonstrate understanding of relationships between groundwater and surface water.
  • Sketch and/or explain how groundwater exists in rock and sediment.
  • Demonstrate understanding of groundwater flow and how it can be represented using maps and cross-sections.
  • Interpret groundwater flow using maps and cross-sections.
  • Demonstrate understanding of characteristics of sediment and rock properties influencing groundwater flow.
  • Calculate hydraulic gradient.
  • Demonstrate understanding of groundwater contamination hazards.
  • Solve problems related to risk of groundwater contamination and overuse given appropriate geologic information.
  • Demonstrate understanding of ice flow in glaciers.
  • Identify conditions that promote the formation, growth, and retreat of glaciers.
  • Compare and contrast features and processes of alpine and continental glaciers.
  • Explain the relationship between sea level and water stored as glacial ice.
  • Demonstrate understanding of evidence for glaciation.

Demonstrate understanding of Earth materials.

Objectives:

  • Contrast minerals with rocks, elements, and other non-minerals.
  • Identify common elements in Earth’s crust.
  • Describe how minerals are distinguished from each other (their physical properties).
  • Demonstrate understanding of physical properties of common mineral/mineral groups.
  • Identify minerals and observe/measure their physical properties from hand samples, descriptions, and/or specimen photographs.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the chemical composition and crystal structure of silicate minerals.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the formation of major rock types.
  • Diagram major rocks and rock-forming processes in the rock cycle.
  • Explain characteristics used to categorize and identify rocks.
  • Demonstrate understanding of compositional and textural characteristics of major types of rocks.
  • Identify rocks and interpret major properties from hand samples, descriptions, and/or specimen photographs.
  • Interpret the conditions of rock formation from hand samples, descriptions, and/or specimen photographs.
  • Describe uses of mineral resources in everyday life.
  • Demonstrate understanding of geologic processes producing and concentrating mineral resources.