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Geology of the National Parks

GLG 125

Geology of the National Parks

GLG 125

Course Description

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

A study of the origin of geologic features of selected national parks. Includes an analysis of rocks, minerals, fossils, and physical landscapes as well as the geologic history of varied regions of the United States. Interpretation of topographic and geologic maps of selected areas. (45-0)

Outcomes and Objectives

Demonstrate an understanding of scenery developed by weathering and erosion on flat-lying rocks.

Objectives:

  • Define geology and how it draws on other sciences..
  • Discuss the geologic view of time, including relative and absolute time.
  • Describe the processes that deposit flat-lying rocks.
  • Compare and contrast physical vs. chemical weathering.
  • Discuss the formation of landscapes from rivers, mass wasting, and erosion.
  • Define uniformitarianism and its significance to geology.
  • Describe how sedimentary rocks are classified.
  • Identify and describe selected hand-specimens from Grand Canyon National Park.
  • Interpret a topographic map for slope and drainage patterns.
  • Describe the geologic history and unique geologic features of Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Petrified Forest, and Badlands National Parks.

Describe and identify landforms developed from caves and ancient reefs.

Objectives:

  • Define and distinguish between limestone and dolomite.
  • Discuss the role of ground water in the formation of caves, sinkhole, and karst topography.
  • Explain the water table, saturated and unsaturated zones.
  • Describe the chemical reactions involved in the dissolution of carbonate rocks.
  • List and define landforms associated with caves and reefs.
  • Describe the development of modern reefs and their relationship to ancient reefs.
  • Describe the geologic history and unique geologic features of Mammoth Cave, Wind Cave, Carlsbad Caverns, and Guadalupe National Parks.

Student can demonstrate an understanding of landscapes shaped by Continental or Alpine Glaciation.

Objectives:

  • Describe and diagram how glaciers form and move.
  • Discuss the theory of Glacial Ages.
  • Compare and contrast the two major types of glaciers.
  • Describe and identify the unique landforms of continental and alpine glaciation.
  • Discuss how a glacier can advance or retreat.
  • Explain the significance of glacial moraines, glacial erratics, and glacial drift to geologic interpretation.
  • Describe the last glaciation to affect Michigan.
  • Identify likely glacial landforms on selected topographic maps.
  • Describe the geologic history and unique geologic features of Voyagers, Isle Royale, Acadia, Rocky Mountain, Glacier, Yosemite, and Glacier Bay National Parks.

Demonstrate an understanding of landscapes shaped by volcanic features and volcanic activity.

Objectives:

  • Compare and contrast intrusive vs. extrusive igneous rocks.
  • Describe the characteristics of lava, including the relationship of silica to viscosity.
  • Identify volcanic landforms on selected topographic maps.
  • Describe how igneous extrusive rocks are classified.
  • Identify and classify selected extrusive igneous rocks from hand-specimens.
  • Draw and describe the three major types of volcanoes.
  • Discuss the plate tectonic setting of most composite volcanoes.
  • Explain the development of a caldera.
  • Discuss the geothermal features associated with many volcanic areas.
  • Describe the geologic history and unique geologic features of Mount Rainier, Crater Lake, Lassen, Hawaii, and Yellowstone National Parks.

Demonstrate an understanding of landscapes and structures in areas of complex mountains.

Objectives:

  • Describe the plate tectonic development of major mountain belts.
  • Identify the major mountain belts in the United States, and their geologic ages.
  • Define structures related to mountain-building, such as folds, faults, and joints.
  • Describe the mountain landforms in extensional vs. compressional areas.
  • Discuss the common types of folding and faulting in extensional vs. compressional areas.
  • Interpret selected geologic maps for dominant structural style.
  • Describe the geologic history and unique geologic features of Grand Teton, Great Basin, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Hot Springs, Shenandoah, and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks.

Demonstrate an understanding of landscapes shaped by Continental or Alpine Glaciation.

Objectives:

  • Describe and diagram how glaciers form and move.
  • Discuss the theory of Glacial Ages.
  • Compare and contrast the two major types of glaciers.
  • Describe and identify the unique landforms of continental and alpine glaciation.
  • Discuss how a glacier can advance or retreat.
  • Explain the significance of glacial moraines, glacial erratics, and glacial drift to geologic interpretation.
  • Describe the last glaciation to affect Michigan.
  • Identify likely glacial landforms on selected topographic maps.
  • Describe the geologic history and unique geologic features of Voyagers, Isle Royale, Acadia, Rocky Mountain, Glacier, Yosemite, and Glacier Bay National Parks.

Demonstrate an understanding of landscapes shaped by volcanic features and volcanic activity.

Objectives:

  • Compare and contrast intrusive vs. extrusive igneous rocks.
  • Describe the characteristics of lava, including the relationship of silica to viscosity.
  • Identify volcanic landforms on selected topographic maps.
  • Describe how igneous extrusive rocks are classified.
  • Identify and classify selected extrusive igneous rocks from hand-specimens.
  • Draw and describe the three major types of volcanoes.
  • Discuss the plate tectonic setting of most composite volcanoes.
  • Explain the development of a caldera.
  • Discuss the geothermal features associated with many volcanic areas.
  • Describe the geologic history and unique geologic features of Mount Rainier, Crater Lake, Lassen, Hawaii, and Yellowstone National Parks.

Demonstrate an understanding of landscapes and structures in areas of complex mountains.

Objectives:

  • Describe the plate tectonic development of major mountain belts.
  • Identify the major mountain belts in the United States, and their geologic ages.
  • Define structures related to mountain-building, such as folds, faults, and joints.
  • Describe the mountain landforms in extensional vs. compressional areas.
  • Discuss the common types of folding and faulting in extensional vs. compressional areas.
  • Interpret selected geologic maps for dominant structural style.
  • Describe the geologic history and unique geologic features of Grand Teton, Great Basin, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Hot Springs, Shenandoah, and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks.