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Geology of the Great Lakes Area

GLG 123

Geology of the Great Lakes Area

GLG 123

Course Description

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

An interpretation of the principal geological features of the Great Lakes region through the application of basic geological principles. Includes some identification of rocks, minerals, and fossils. Field trip required. Students must pay own expenses. (30-0)

Outcomes and Objectives

Demonstrate an understanding of how the shorelines of the Great Lakes have formed.

Objectives:

  • Identify the present day Great Lakes and their major geographic features.
  • 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.
  • Determine the direction of a longshore current from the features of a beach.
  • 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 glaciation has influenced the formation of the Great Lakes.

Objectives:

  • Discuss how the glacial history of the Great Lakes 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.
  • 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 the landscape features formed by glaciation have formed.
  • Discuss the economic aspects of Pleistocene glaciation in the Great Lakes region.

Demonstrate an understanding of how the 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.
  • Identify 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.
  • Describe the geologic reasons for how Niagara Falls formed.
  • Explain how Niagara Falls has changed both location and volume over time.
  • Summarize the three main ways in which the Great Lakes have changed their levels.
  • Describe recent discoveries about the climate effects on water levels.
  • Identify the major outlet channels of Great Lakes history.
  • Predict future changes in the Great Lakes based on their geologic history.

Demonstrate an understanding of how sedimentary rocks form and how the Paleozoic history of the Great Lakes region influenced the formation of the Great Lakes basins.

Objectives:

  • Identify the important sedimentary rocks of the Great Lakes region.
  • Describe the environments of formation of the sedimentary rocks of the Great Lakes region.
  • Identify the geologic era during which most of the sedimentary rocks of the Great Lakes region formed.
  • Identify the economically important geologic resources of the sedimentary rocks of the Great Lakes region.
  • Describe the major features of the Paleozoic history of the Great Lakes region.
  • Explain how the locations of Lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario have been determined by the Paleozoic rocks of the Great Lakes region.
  • Explain the significance of the Michigan Basin.
  • Explain how features such as Green Bay, Georgian Bay, and the North Channel are related to Paleozoic rocks.
  • Explain the significance of the Niagara Escarpment.

Demonstrate an understanding of how igneous and metamorphic rocks form and how the Precambrian history of the Great Lakes Region influenced the formation of the Great Lakes.

Objectives:

  • Explain the significance of the Canadian Shield
  • 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 formed.
  • Describe the major features of the Precambrian history of the Great Lakes Region.
  • Explain how the formation of Lake Superior has been determined by the Precambrian history of the region.
  • Distinguish betwen the major features of Keweenawan, Middle Precambrian, and Early Precambrian time.
  • Identify the economically important resources from the Precambrian rocks of the Great Lakes Region.
  • Explain how those resources formed.

Students shall demonstrate how to recognize geologic features of the Great Lakes Region and interpret their origin.

Objectives:

  • Recognize selected geologic features.
  • Observe and record in a field notebook (written and sketches) visited geologic features.
  • Interpret the origin of observed geologic features.
  • Interpret observations from various locations to synthesize their regional significance.
  • Work in a collaborative manner with others in observing and interpreting geologic features.
  • Recognize how the scenic beauty of the Great Lakes Region is related to the underlying geology.