Please enable JavaScript to view this page.

Geology of Michigan

GLG 122

Geology of Michigan

GLG 122

Course Description

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

An interpretation of the origin and characteristics of the principal geological features of Michigan through the application of basic geological principles. Includes some identification of rocks, minerals and fossils. Occasional field trips. (45-0)

Outcomes and Objectives

Demonstrate an understanding of how the regional geologic framework of the continental interior influences the geology of Michigan.

Objectives:

  • Describe the structural framework of the continental interior in terms of the Canadian Shield, the Michigan Basin, and the surrounding positive areas.
  • Describe the role of vertical movements in changing the surface configuration of Earth.
  • Explain how sea level changes have led to seas covering Michigan at various times in the past.
  • Distinguish between the older Precambrian rocks of the Canadian Shield and the layered sedimentary rocks of the Michigan Basin.
  • Explain how subsidence has led to the thick section of sedimentary rocks in Michigan.

Demonstrate an understanding of how Precambrian rocks have formed and how Precambrian history has influenced the geology of Michigan.

Objectives:

  • Identify the important igneous rocks of the region.
  • Describe how these igneous rocks formed.
  • Identify the important metamorphic rocks of the region.
  • Describe how these metamorphic rocks have formed.
  • Explain the significance of batholiths in the geology of the Upper Peninsula.
  • Describe how iron formation formed.
  • Discuss the significance of metamorphic zones and how they relate to economic iron deposits.
  • Describe how Keweenawan lavas and associated sedimentary rocks formed.
  • Explain how the copper deposits of the Keweenawan rocks formed.
  • Explain how the formation of Lake Superior has been determined by the Keweenawan history of the region.
  • Explain how Isle Royale formed and how it relates to the Keweenawan Peninsula.
  • Distinguish between the major features of Keweenawan, Middle Precambrian, and Early Precambrian time.
  • Explain why the landscapes of the western half of the Upper Peninsula are so different from the rest of Michigan.

Demonstrate an understanding of how Paleozoic rocks have formed and how Paleozoic history has influenced the geology of Michigan.

Objectives:

  • Identify the important sedimentary rocks of Michigan.
  • Describe the environments of formation of the sedimentary rocks of Michigan.
  • Explain how the structure of the Michigan Basin influences the distribution and thickness of Paleozoic rocks in Michigan.
  • Explain how maps and cross sections of the Michigan Basin relate to each other.
  • Explain how Lakes Michigan and Huron are related to the structure of the Michigan Basin.
  • Describe the major features of the Paleozoic history of Michigan.
  • Explain how Cambrian sandstones of the Upper Peninsula are related to a transgressing sea.
  • Explain how Tahquamenon Falls and Pictured Rocks have formed.
  • Describe how limestones and shales formed during Ordovician time.
  • Describe how limestones, dolomites, and evaporites formed during Silurianime.
  • Explain the significance of the Niagaran Escarpment.
  • Describe how organic reefs formed during Silurian time.
  • Explain how Silurian organic reefs are associated with oil fields.
  • Describe how limestones and shales formed during Devonian time.
  • Explain why so few sandstones formed during Ordovician through Devonian time.
  • Describe how Mississippian and Pennsylvanian sedimentary rocks are so different from older Paleozoic rocks.
  • Explain how coal formed during Pennsylvanian time.
  • Identify important economic resources of the Paleozoicks of Michigan.
  • Identify important fossils from Paleozoic rocks.
  • Explain how we know so much about the Paleozoic history of Michigan despite the fact that so much of it is covered by glacial deposits.
  • Explain the significance of the "lost interval" in the geologic history of Michigan.

Demonstrate an understanding of how glaciers have modified and shaped Michigan.

Objectives:

  • Discuss how the glacial history of Michigan fits into the worldwide record of Pleistocene time.
  • Explain how we know that multiple cycles of glaciation have occurred.
  • Identify the factors that determine whether the front of a glacier is advancing, retreating, or standing still.
  • Identify the evidence for lobes of glaciation in Michigan.
  • Explain the mechanisms of glacial erosion.
  • Explain how glaciers form glacial polish, scratches, and grooves.
  • Explain how glacial deposits are different from other sedimentary deposits.
  • Identify the two kinds of glacial drift based on their characteristics.
  • Identify the landscape features formed by glaciation.
  • Explain how glacial landscape features have formed.
  • Discuss the economic aspects of Pleistocene glaciation in Michigan.

Demonstrate an understanding of how the shorelines of Michigan have formed.

Objectives:

  • Explain how water waves form and how they move.
  • Identify the features of water waves.
  • Explain the factors that influence wave height
  • Explain how breakers form and how breakers cause erosion.
  • Explain how longshore currents form.
  • Explain how longshore currents alter a beach over time.
  • Identify the features of a beach.
  • Identify spits, hooks, and baymouth bars.
  • Describe how water levels change during the year and over longer time periods.
  • Explain the effects of water level changes on shorelines.
  • Explain how sand dunes form along Great Lakes beaches.
  • Identify foredunes, U-shaped dunes, and perched dunes.
  • Explain how a series of beach dune ridges form and how they are associated with wetland areas.
  • Explain why dunes are well developed along some shorelines but not others.
  • Identify headlands, seacliffs, wave terraces, sea caves, and stacks.

Demonstrate an understanding of how Great Lakes have changed during late glacial and postglacial time.

Objectives:

  • Identify the earliest lakes to form as glaciers began their retreat from the Great Lakes region.
  • Explain how the early drainage patterns of the Great Lakes were different from today and how they went through a series of changes.
  • Identify the evidence for different lake levels of the past.
  • Explain why lake levels changed over time.
  • Describe recent discoveries about climate effects on water levels.
  • Explain the influence of lake level changes on the Saginaw Valley.
  • Describe the evidence for Lake Nipissing.
  • Identify what was unique about Lake Nipissing.
  • Explain how Lake Nipissing came into existence.
  • Explain what changes took place after Lake Nipissing time to bring the modern Great Lakes into existence.
  • Summarize the three main ways in which the Great Lakes have changed their levels.
  • Identify the major outlet channels of Great Lakes history.
  • Predict future changes in the Great Lakes based on their geologic history.

Demonstrate how to recognize geologic features of Michigan and interpret their origin.

Objectives:

  • Recognize selected geologic features.
  • Observe and record in a field notebook (written and sketches) visited geologic features.
  • Work in a collaborative manner with others in observing and interpreting geologic features.
  • Recognize how the scenic beauty of Michigan is related to the underlying geology.