GEO 1005 -- Changes

Fri Aug 14 11:53:45 2009

Effective Term: New:  1113 - Spring 2011
Old:  1089 - Fall 2008
Editor Comments: New:  CLE review
Old:  Updating of course equivalencies only
Proposal Changes: New:  CLE review
Old:  Correction to course equivalency
Sponsor E-mail Address:
Student Learning Outcomes: * Student in the course:

- Can identify, define, and solve problems


Please explain briefly how this outcome will be addressed in the course. Give brief examples of class work related to the outcome.

GEO1005 lab exercises are a mix of step-based assignments and open-ended inquiries. The latter require students to formulate the problem (usually with some assistance, but not in all cases), outline the steps necessary to investigate it, make and compile measurements and document their conclusions. These skills are brought to bear in full on the final lab assignment where students are tasked to break into small groups to design, execute and present an experiment entirely of their own creation. Lecture flow is designed to foster these skills as well by establishing a set of observations, verbally testing various idea and hypotheses about them and working to the present-day understanding.

How will you assess the students' learning related to this outcome? Give brief examples of how class work related to the outcome will be evaluated.

Problem formulation and solution skills are assessed primarily in the lab setting. Open-ended questions are included in all labs. Mineral and rock identification skills are a good example: students must learn to recognize distinguishing physical characteristics (e.g., mineral hardness, cleavage, reaction to weak acid, crystalline habit, etc.) and work through numerous possible answers to obtain a positive identification. The year-end student project requires student develop their own questions and approaches to solution. They are evaluated on the creativity of the problem itself and the success of their experiments in testing it.

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- Have mastered a body of knowledge and a mode of inquiry


Please explain briefly how this outcome will be addressed in the course. Give brief examples of class work related to the outcome.

GEO 1005 is designed to help students master a body of knowledge about how their world works and become familiar with modes of scientific inquiry that provide a different, more complete, perspective of the world they live in. Lectures stress concepts over details, helping students understand geology from a more holistic, systems-oriented perspective that will stay with them when individual facts and figures have faded. The gathering of data, the development of thought and the importance of the empiricism and the scientific method are treated at length, coupled with discussions of the history of geology. Students leave GEO 1005 well versed in the modes of geologic inquiry. This awareness is also developed through practice in lab where students make, interpret and document their own measurements and ideas.

How will you assess the students' learning related to this outcome? Give brief examples of how class work related to the outcome will be evaluated.

Evaluation is based on written assignments, quizzes and lab assignments. In each, students are asked to address questions that combine concepts from lecture and lab and require synthesis of several threads. We avoid as much as possible asking memorization based questions—they don't test mastery, they test memory. By focusing questions and writing on concepts, we feel we assess mastery well.

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- Can communicate effectively


Please explain briefly how this outcome will be addressed in the course. Give brief examples of class work related to the outcome.

Students in GEO1005 are asked to communicate their knowledge in two forums other than quizzes and exams. (1) There are two writing components–the geo-action adventure movie script and the science diaries–that are graded for content, but also for style and grammar. (2) There are several group presentations in lab, culminating with the student designed and executed final lab. Together, these exercises require students to put into words and actions their understanding of geology. Student communication skills are bettered by timely feedback on writing (with rewrites when necessary) and both instructor and peer review of group presentations.

How will you assess the students' learning related to this outcome? Give brief examples of how class work related to the outcome will be evaluated.

Detailed evaluation of written assignments including revision of the initial script proposal and timely feedback on student presentations in lab.

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- Understand the role of creativity, innovation, discovery, and expression across disciplines


Please explain briefly how this outcome will be addressed in the course. Give brief examples of class work related to the outcome.

Geologists routinely deal with highly incomplete datasets. We are forced to extrapolate over the globe and through 4.5 billion years of Earth history on the basis of limited exposures of rocks at the present-day surface of the planet. As a result, our science requires creative thinkers and promotes discovery. Through lab and lecture, GEO 1005 introduces students to these aspects of geology. Further, through the use of movies depicting geology, student authored geo-action adventure movie scripts, student science diaries and lab exercises, students are shown the range of expression in the field and are challenged to express their own creativity and ingenuity.

How will you assess the students' learning related to this outcome? Give brief examples of how class work related to the outcome will be evaluated.

We evaluate our success in several fashions: (1) by assessing the level of creativity in student written scripts and group presentations, (2) by posing questions in writing assignments and quizzes that address the roles that creativity, innovation and discovery have played in the geosciences and (3) by evaluating the effectiveness of student writing, making it clear that effective communication is a pre-requisite to the dissemination of knowledge.

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- Have acquired skills for effective citizenship and life-long learning


Please explain briefly how this outcome will be addressed in the course. Give brief examples of class work related to the outcome.

The course is explicitly designed to help students acquire the skills and background knowledge necessary to be more effective citizens of a global community that faces some very serious environmental issues. Film clips provide a portal to public perception of science and scientists that is countered by classroom discussion of real world examples of creativity, innovation, discovery and expression in the physical sciences. Writing assignments develop student skill in communicating science in popular forms. Exposure to the scientific method and the diversity of modes of inquiry to be found in geology gives students tools for assimilating the vast amounts of information coming their way in the digital age and helps them contextualize and evaluate competing narratives and ideas.

How will you assess the students' learning related to this outcome? Give brief examples of how class work related to the outcome will be evaluated.

This SLO is the foremost consideration in structure and delivery of GEO1005 and GEO1105—our goal is to produce informed citizens whose base in the geosciences is both broad and firm, enabling them to see geology in their lives everyday. As such, all methods of evaluation (writing, quizzes, lab assignments and presentations) bear on this: do students understand the importance of limited resources, of global change, of the interplay of solid, liquid and living components of our planet, of the pace of natural processes, … We teach to these topics and tests, writing and lab assess student mastery.

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this course fulfills:
New:  PHYS - PHYS Physical Sciences
Old:  ENVT - ENVT Environment Theme
Other requirement
this course fulfills:
New:  ENV - ENV The Environment
Old:  PHYS SCI/L - PHYS SCI/L Physical Science with Laboratory Core
Criteria for
Core Courses:
Describe how the course meets the specific bullet points for the proposed core requirement. Give concrete and detailed examples for the course syllabus, detailed outline, laboratory material, student projects, or other instructional materials or method.

Core courses must meet the following requirements:

  • They explicitly help students understand what liberal education is, how the content and the substance of this course enhance a liberal education, and what this means for them as students and as citizens
  • They employ teaching and learning strategies that engage students with doing the work of the field, not just reading about it.
  • They include small group experiences (such as discussion sections or labs) and use writing as appropriate to the discipline to help students learn and reflect on their learning.
  • They do not (except in rare and clearly justified cases) have prerequisites beyond the University´┐Żs entrance requirements.
  • They are offered on a regular schedule.
  • They are taught by regular faculty or under exceptional circumstances by instructors on continuing appointments. Departments proposing instructors other than regular faculty must provide documentation of how such instructors will be trained and supervised to ensure consistency and continuity in courses.

One section of GEO 1005 every year, combined with 12 different lab options, provides students with a flexible, dependable option to fulfill their physical science and environmental theme requirements. Students face no prerequisites beyond the University’s entrance requirements.  GEO1005 has been taught by full professor Justin Revenaugh since 2002 with one exception (spring 2007 when Kent Kirkby substituted).  His teaching reviews for 2004-2006 are available online through the OneStop course evaluation site and are strong.   He intends to continue offering the course yearly for at least the next five years.  The class is highly popular and routinely fills prior to open registration for freshman.   

Physical Science with Lab
GEO1005 is taught as a physical sciences with lab course, not a first course for geology and geophysics majors/minors.  It draws from highschool-level biology, chemistry, physics and, to a lesser degree, mathematics as it develops the modern framework of geology.  Earth processes are usually slow and often global.  They cannot be understood by casual observation, but rather require the complex synthesis of disparate lines of evidence and theory.  As such, their elucidation provides tremendous insight into the scientific method.

Geology is unusual in that its most important theorems (Plate Tectonics and Global Change) are young.  Some of the evidence used to formulate and support these two organizing theorems, especially the latter, is still subject to considerable debate.  Discussion of these debates and the recent development of geology’s grand theorems offers students insight into scientific dialog, the importance of paradigms, and the central role of technology in the sciences.  The course exploits this by organizing individual lectures around one or two important hypotheses of geology.  Results from many physical sciences disciplines that apply to the questions at hand are developed and integrated into the current consensus view.  Considerable attention is paid to the importance of hypothesis testing (and the power of scientific prediction) and the process of hypothesis formulation.

The extensive use of movie clips (and a few full-length features) exposes students to the endurance and societal impact of common myths and misconceptions, the power of new media to inform (and misinform) and to shape opinion and beliefs, and the importance of proper and compelling communication of science.

Laboratory modules are hands-on investigations of the nature of physical earth materials and processes encoded in earth’s surface features and continuing to the present.  When possible this is done using the same data, methods and reasoning that geologists use in the field.  When it isn't, we employ analog experiments that capture the essence of the phenomena while fitting in the confines of the lab and time block.  All modules include mathematics and/or quantitative analyses to describe and explore phenomena, as well as qualitative assessment of their properties. Many modules include short essays that require students to compile concepts and data to construct a coherent explanation or interpretation of phenomena.  One exercise, unique among our physical sciences with lab offerings, is the final student designed, executed and presented experiment which requires students to engage with science as producers, not consumers.  

Physical science.  GEO 1005 is taught as a first course in the physical sciences.  It draws from highschool-level biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics as it develops the modern framework of geology.  Earth processes are usually slow and often global.  They cannot be understood by casual observation, but rather require the complex synthesis of disparate lines of data and theory.  As such, their elucidation provides tremendous insight into the scientific method.  

The Earth Sciences are unique in that the most important theorems (Plate Tectonics and Global Change) are young.  Some of the evidence used to formulate and support these theorems is still under debate.  Discussion of these debates and the recent development of geology's grand theories offers students insight into scientific dialog, how paradigms shift, and the increasingly important role of technology in the sciences.  The extensive use of movies in the class exposes students to the endurance and impact of common myths and misconceptions about the Earth, illustrating the importance of proper and compelling communication of science.

The lab portion of the course will involve 16 in-lab contact hours.  Weekly sessions are modeled after GEO1001 and focus on small group learning format projects.  These expose students to minerals and rocksthe lingua franca of geology, to maps and to real data sets that require complex chains of reasoning to interpret.  The environmental theme is featured as students are required to use maps and geotechnical data to site a landfill.  A one-day field experience is included and designed to motivate lab and lecture content in the real world.  Geology requires its practitioners to extrapolate sparse data, often limited to the Earth's surface, to three spatial dimensions and, often, time.  The lab component of the course provides important instruction and exercises to begin developing the complex conceptualization tools necessary for geologists.

Environment theme. Throughout the course, stress is placed on how the dynamics of the Earth affect human life. A significant part of the course concerns the interaction of geological processes and human society - geohazards such as volcanoes and earthquakes, as well as geological resources. The second half of the course primarily deals with the Earth's surface processes, including the atmosphere and ocean systems. We stress their connections with the biosphere and the evolution of life. We also discuss human impacts on these systems, and its consequences - groundwater pollution and use, river flooding and management, and the increase in desert and semi-arid areas resulting from human activities. The beginning and ending of this second half introduce the students to the concepts of and evidence for global change. We look as the evolution of the present global system both from the long term perspective of plate tectonics and natural climatic change, and the more immediate consequences of human impacts on the global climate system. As mentioned above, the emphasis on the environment is also extended into the small group learning format of the labs.

A major course objective is to make our students more informed citizens with respect to environmental issues. We try to provide them with a general sense of the nature of the Earth: how it works, how it has evolved, and how human activity affects it. Although the course serves as a general introduction to these things, lecture topics have been chosen to emphasize those aspects of the Earth most necessary for nonscientists in developing informed opinions about environmental issues. We think that application of scientific methods to the study of the Earth and its history is an excellent vehicle for introducing students to the ways of thinking and of knowing that characterize science in general.
Criteria for
Theme Courses:
Describe how the course meets the specific bullet points for the proposed theme requirement. Give concrete and detailed examples for the course syllabus, detailed outline, laboratory material, student projects, or other instructional materials or methods.

Theme courses have the common goal of cultivating in students a number of habits of mind:
  • thinking ethically about important challenges facing our society and world;
  • reflecting on the shared sense of responsibility required to build and maintain community;
  • connecting knowledge and practice;
  • fostering a stronger sense of our roles as historical agents.

New:  Throughout the course, stress is placed on the interaction of life and the physical Earth system.   As this is a geology course, these interactions range from those of the present day to events buried in deep time.  While both ends of the temporal spectrum are important to geology, only the former (the recent) qualify the course for the environmental theme, so the following refers only to those.  Example topics include: human engineering of river systems and the attendant impacts on fisheries, agriculture, and landscape evolution; the extraction of natural resources and its environmental consequences; the anthropogenic influence on global climate change and resulting impacts on society; and the distribution, exploitation and contamination of sparse groundwater resources.

The second half of the course primarily deals with Earth’s surface processes, including the atmosphere and ocean systems.  We stress their connections with the evolution of life and the present-day environment.  We also discuss human impacts on these systems and their consequences—groundwater pollution; urban runoff and river flooding; and the increase in global mean temperature, desert and semi-arid land areas and storm intensity, and sea-level rise resulting from carbon-based energy production.  The majority of the movies chosen feature centrally the impact of geologic processes on society and the usually vain attempts by man to control them.  While sensationalized, they serve as excellent springboards to broader discussion in class.

A major objective of this course is to make our students more informed citizens with respect to environmental issues.  We try to provide them with a general sense of the nature of the Earth: how it works, how it has evolved, how it shapes human activity and vice versa.  Although the course serves only as a general introduction to these things, lecture topics have been chosen to emphasize those aspects of the Earth most necessary for developing informed opinions about environmental issues.  

What follows are some specifics with regards to fulfilling the three criteria of the environmental theme.

(a)        Raises environmental issues of major significance.  Examples include: global warming in the context of global change, soil erosion, natural hazards and civilization, and the finite nature of physical resources and consequences of their extraction and use.

(b)        Gives explicit attention to interrelationships between the natural environment and human society. Examples include: displacement of vast numbers of people in lowland coastal environments due to global warming induced rise in sea level, fisheries depletion as a result of river diversion and flood control, increased flood frequency in urban watersheds due to enhanced surface runoff, and the rampant use of essentially non-renewable groundwater resources in crop irrigation.

(c)        Introduces the underlying scientific principles behind the environmental issues being examined.  Examples include: the nature of greenhouse gases and feedbacks in the climate system augmented by discussion of quantified past changes in the system, the basics of groundwater flow and discharge, and slope stability as regards land use policy in forestry and mining.

As this environmental approach is atypical of traditional science courses, lists of lab and lecture topics are provided to show how environmental and societal themes are woven throughout GEO 1005.  Also included is a summary of TA training to insure effective transmittal of these themes through the lab experience.

Integration of Environment Theme into Lab Program
Note: only those lab sessions with content appropriate to the theme are outlined.  The slate of labs listed here and elsewhere in the reauthorization package reflects changes being made to GEO1005 right now for introduction in the spring of 2010.  These include several thoroughly revised/new lectures and four new lab sessions, and are indicative of the ongoing evolution of GEO1005 since its introduction six years ago.

‘Earthquakes’ explores the processes behind seismic activity and students use earthquake data to locate earthquakes in the US. The chosen location allows the lab to tie into the famous 1811-1812 series of powerful earthquakes in the New Madrid area, a geologic setting similar to the Twin Cities area, emphasizing that North American earthquake risk is not limited to Californian communities. Note that this lab is patterned after a similar exercise in GEO1001.

Minerals: Gifts of the Earth’ reinvents the traditional mineral identification lab to emphasize the many roles minerals play in human society. Although students learn to identify minerals in the lab, mineral identification takes a secondary place to exploring how minerals are used in human society and how mineral properties affect their use. A website created specifically for this lab highlights the many uses of minerals throughout our society and the implications of mineral use, including environmental hazards.  Note that this lab is patterned after a similar exercise in GEO1001.

‘Igneous Rocks: Gifts of Fire’ applies a similar approach to the study of igneous rocks, integrating the properties of different igneous rocks with their varied uses in human society from ancient tools and sculpture to modern abrasives and railroad ballast. Students not only explore the traditional aspects of igneous rock interpretation, but also tie the rock properties to their commercial uses. The lab also explicitly relates differences in magma properties to volcanic risks and concludes with two case studies of Upper Midwest igneous complexes, guiding students to the recognition and interpretation of ancient divergent and convergent plate boundaries. Note that this lab is patterned after a similar exercise in GEO1001.

‘Sedimentary Rocks: Gifts of Water & Air’ continues the pattern of the previous two labs, weaving traditional aspects of sedimentary and metamorphic rock identification and interpretation with the rocks’ many uses in modern and past societies.  Upper Midwest case studies of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks suites allow students to explore the origin of areas familiar to them, drawing comparisons with times in which the region sat on the equator, was covered by tropical seas, or was deformed in a massive mountain building event. Locations chosen were specifically selected to highlight the interactions of geology with human society. An exploration of the Boom Site ties into the mid 19th century logging industry and the first Euro-American settlement in Minnesota Territory, while Pipestone is used to highlight the unique role these metamorphosed rocks played in Indian societies and trade routes. Note that this lab is patterned after a similar exercise in GEO1001.

'Mineral and Rock identification practical'  Following the emphasis of prior labs, the focus here is on associating rock and mineral resources with rock properties, composition and occurrence.  

‘Campus Tour: The Geology of the East Bank’s Bluffs & Buildings’ lab groups explore background information on the building stones showcases across campus, developing and planning a presentation on some specific rock types.  Their goal is to provide classmates with the information they will need to interpret the geologic history behind an unknown rock type.  The lab forces students to critically examine the information embedded in a rock’s composition and texture, as well as providing students with a greater appreciation of society’s use of geologic materials in buildings.  

'Not Worth a Hill of Beans' uses bean piles as a laboratory proxy for natural hillslopes (this has been shown to simulate natural processes very closely) and examines natural processes, such as erosion, and the effects of land use decisions including foresting and road cutting.  

'Wind and Wuthering' simulates Aeolian transport in the lab with emphases on soil erosion, beach-dune interactions and the impacts of aridification on surface deposits and landforms.

'Armageddon' leads students through the asteroid impact process and the environmental consequence of both small and large impacts.  Association of the impact record with major extinctions is made.  Students come to understand the extent of impact hazard for modern society.

TA Training
The success of the student laboratory experience is contingent on excellent guidance and mentoring by their teaching assistants.  GEO1005 usually has four or five different TAs handling the twelve lab sections.  One is assigned the job of "lab curator" and coordinator.  He/she works with me to assure that the labs are well maintained, that evaluation criteria are effective and applied uniformly between sections, that students needing special accommodation are well attended to and that student questions and concerns are addressed in timely fashion.  Having a TA lead these efforts has proven more effective than relying solely on the primary instructor; the head TA leads lab sections and sees, day to day, the issues and problems that arise.  By empowering them to make decisions, these issues and problems are dealt with quickly.

All TAs in GEO1005 are Geology and Geophysics graduate students and, as such, are well versed with most of the material prior to assignment to GEO1005.  Many, however, are not familiar with the environmental issues raised in many lab sessions.  And those from outside the Midwest often need to learn more about the region prior to instructing students.  The primary instructor, with the help of Kent Kirkby-the department introductory course lab supervisor-, and the lab curator meet with TAs prior to the beginning of the semester and weekly thereafter to make sure that everyone is well prepared for upcoming labs.  We are assembling a portfolio of books, scientific papers and prior TA write-ups to facilitate TA instruction and allow them to achieve more depth than is possible in once-weekly meetings.  We also attempt, to the greatest degree possible, to employ TAs in courses they have TA'ed before.  This minimizes the "overhead" for them and results in better versed and prepared TAs for us.

Integration of Environment Theme into Lecture Program
The complex interaction between humans and their environment is a dominant theme woven throughout the course.  What follows is a chronological list of GEO1005 lectures.  In each, topics relevant to the Environmental theme are italicized.

Geologic natural disasters of the previous 12 months
        Dramatic examples of Earth affecting people and society
        Exacerbation of disasters by land-, energy-, and resource-use choices

Introduction to the Earth
        What is geology?
        The scientific method in geology
        Birth of the solar system
        Basic structure of the Earth
Plate Tectonics: the central organizing theorem of the solid earth
        Continental Drift (as history)
        Modern theory of plate motions/creation/destruction
        Plate tectonics, aridification of Africa and hominid evolution
Volcanic and seismic hazards and civilization: why do most people in the world live in the shadow of a pending geologic disaster?

Minerals: the building block of rocks and thus the alphabet of geology
        Formation of minerals
        Important mineral groups
        Minerals as resources
        Minerals and microbes, biomineralization and mineral-mediated life
        Diamonds, their distribution and societal impacts of extraction

Igneous rocks and volcanism (two lectures)
        Formation of magma
        Formation of igneous rocks
        Volcanoes and the relation of plate tectonics and volcanism
        Living with volcanoes: climate change, soil production/fertility, hazard

Sedimentary rocks
        Types of sedimentary rocks
        Sedimentary structures
        Weathering and soils
        Sedimentary rocks as resources and impacts of their utilization

Metamorphic rocks
        Types of metamorphic rocks
        Environments of metamorphism
        Metamorphic rocks as resources and impacts of their utilization
Hydrothermal metamorphism and the birth of life?

Earth deformation
        Mountain belts, orogeny
        Faults and folds
Topography and climate: India’s monsoons, uplift of the Himalayas and global change

        Cause, location, prediction and phenomenology
        Living with earthquakes: seismic hazard

The rock record and geologic time
        Geologic time
        Relative vs. absolute time
        Radioactivity and dating of earth materials
        Age of the Earth
        Uniformitarianism vs catastrophism vs creationism

Brief history of life on Earth
        Classifying life
Proterozoic through the Phanerozoic, life on Earth
        Evolution and extinction
        The Permo-triassic extinction and regeneration of the Earth’s flora and fauna
        The end-cretaceous extinction, dinosaurs and large  impacts
Comparison of present-day extinction rates with geological estimates: contextualization of human impacts on biosphere

The Climate System
        Earth's atmosphere/hydrosphere/biosphere basics
        Basic atmospheric dynamics
        Inputs, outputs and feedbacks
        Climate, water, land use and civilization

Erosion and mass wasting
        Uplift and erosion
        Mass movements
        Plate tectonic ties
        Erosion and land use
        Human aggravation
Stabilizing the Los Angeles hillsides
Glaciers and Ice Ages
        Rheology, creation and behavior of ice
        Dying glaciers and global change
        The effects of continental glaciation (destruction and renewal)
        The Pleistocene ice age
        The cause of ice ages

Groundwater: use, misuse and dynamics (two lectures)
        Permeability and flow
        Water table dynamics
        Reservoirs and recharge
        Water as a natural resource
        History of water on Earth
        Tapping the groundwater supply
        Groundwater usage problems
        Groundwater contamination

Rivers and floods (two lectures)
        Flow and work of water
        Stream channels
        Streams and the landscape
        Rivers as a vanishing resource
        The Mississippi as an example of massive engineering: control and consequence
        Human activity and floods, fish and agriculture

Oceans and coasts: circulation, coastal dynamics and human management (two lectures)
        Controls on chemistry
        Waves and coastal dynamics
        Coastal problems and solutions
        Loss of land: sea level rise
Wind and deserts
        Desert processes
        Landscapes, erosion and deposition

Ancient Climates and Climate change (two lectures)
        Biogeochemical cycles
        Global climate change
        Plate tectonics and change
        Return to aridification of East Africa and the descent of man
        Anthropogenic changes in the Earth system
        The future of the Earth's climate

Natural resources
Emplacement and extraction
Stewardship and environmental aspects
Energy sources, choices and implications
        Impacts and life

Old:  <no text provided>
Please provide a provisional syllabus for new courses and courses in which changes in content and/or description and/or credits are proposed that include the following information: course goals and description; format/structure of the course (proposed number of instructor contact hours per week, student workload effort per week, etc.); topics to be covered; scope and nature of assigned readings (texts, authors, frequency, amount per week); required course assignments; nature of any student projects; and how students will be evaluated.

The University policy on credits is found under Section 4A of "Standards for Semester Conversion" at . Provisional course syllabus information will be retained in this system until new syllabus information is entered with the next major course modification, This provisional course syllabus information may not correspond to the course as offered in a particular semester.

New:     GEO1005/1105 Geology and Cinema

Instructor:         Justin Revenaugh
        211 Pillsbury Hall (Eastbank)

Course Webpages:
This should appear in your "My Courses" link.

General Description
Earth has a fascinating 4.55-billion-year history that is written in stone and readable by geologists.  Life, land, oceans and atmosphere are linked through processes occurring at Earth’s surface and in the interior of the planet.  Some of these processes, like continental drift, are stunningly slow, while others, like large impact events, are horrifyingly quick.  Although geologists have been studying these processes for centuries, much of what the general populous knows about the goings-on of the Earth comes not from scientists, but rather from the popular media, most notably film.  Unfortunately, much of what you are told by Hollywood is wrong, often very wrong.  This course sets the foundation of modern geology, along the way exposing the enduring myths promulgated in film and educating students on a variety of environmental issues such as climate change, natural resources, river management and the history of life.  

There will be five quizzes during the semester, four during regular class meetings and a fifth quiz during finals week.  All are multiple choice.  The four in-class quizzes will be 30 minutes long (or less) and will cover only material introduced after the prior quiz.  The final quiz is one-hour long and will have some comprehensive questions regarding the primary themes and concepts of the class.  In terms of computing your grade, it is equal to two in-class quizzes.  Otherwise, all quizzes are equal in value.  I do not discard the low score.  To prepare you for each quiz, a sample quiz will be posted to the course website.

Writing Assignment
You will write a geology action-adventure movie script.  This will be submitted in two parts.  The first is a movie proposal–a one-page description of the primary plot points of your movie.  It will have been read and approved by at least five classmates prior to submission.  Part two is the “script” itself, which should be about three to five pages in length, featuring character write-ups, plot points, sample dialog, and trailer text.  The best five of these will be “tested” in class and the author of your favorite will receive a prize very much worth winning (but which will remain secret for now).  

Lab (1005 Only)
Lab starts the second week of class and continues through the semester.  Most lab meetings will find you completing a series of experiments or observations and writing up your results.  These are usually straightforward if you skim the lab manual before class and pay attention to the TA.  In addition, there is a lab quiz covering mineral and rock identification skills, and a group experiment/presentation.  The latter takes place the last week of the semester.  More detail will be provided later, but know that these are meant to be informative allow you to convey your results, express your knowledge and showcase your creativity in a very free-form environment.  They are not intended to be painful public speaking hazing rituals.  They are important to your lab grade total.

Lectures and Readings
All readings are from The Essential Earth by Jordan and Grotzinger.  Buy it and read it, preferably before class.

20-Jan        Introduction/Year in Disasters        Chapter 1       
22-Jan        Introduction to Earth and Plate Tectonics        Chapter 2       
27-Jan        Plate Tectonics        Chapter 3       
29-Jan        Journey to the Center of the Earth       
3-Feb        Rest of JCE/Minerals        Chapter 4       
5-Feb        Igneous Rocks        Chapter 5        Quiz 1
10-Feb        Igneous Rocks/Volcanoes        Chapter 5       
12-Feb        Volcano       
17-Feb        Rest of Volcano/Volcanoes       
19-Feb        Sedimentary Rocks/Meta Rocks        Chapter 6       
24-Feb        Meta Rocks/Folding/Faulting        Chapter 7       
26-Feb        Earthquakes        Chapter 13        Quiz 2
3-Mar        Tremors       
5-Mar        Telling Geologic Time        Chapter 8       
10-Mar        History of Life        Ch. 9 pp 239-248       
12-Mar        The Climate System        Chapter 10       
24-Mar        Glaciers and Ice Ages        Chapter 10       
26-Mar        Ice Age: The Meltdown       
31-Mar        Groundwater        Chapter 11        Quiz 3
2-Apr        Rivers        Chapter 12       
7-Apr        Floods        Chapter 12       
9-Apr        Oceans         Chapter 12       
14-Apr        Tidal Wave: No Escape       
16-Apr        Coasts        Chapter 12       
21-Apr        Wind and Weather        Chapter 10        Quiz 4
23-Apr        Deserts        Chapter 12       
28-Apr        Ancient Climates and Change        Chapter 14       
30-Apr        The Day After Tomorrow        Chapter 14       
5-May        Rest of TDAT/Climate Change       
7-May        Resources        Chapter 1       

May 14        Final Quiz
        8:00 am to 10:00 am in SmithH 100

Student performance in the course will be judged on the basis of lab work (weekly assignments, the quiz and the group experiment/presentation); writing assignments; and the five quizzes.  The weighting of quizzes, lab work, and writing assignments is 50-30-20 (70-30 quizzes to writing for 1105 students). Regardless of your total score, you must achieve a cumulative passing mark (better than 68% after any curve is applied) on the quizzes to pass the class with a C- or better.   Students who achieve a higher total percentage, but fail the sum of the quizzes can do no better than a D+.   Why?  Because the quizzes are the only component of the course on which you cannot work collaboratively.  How you do on them is the clearest indicator I have of how much you have learned.

Academic Honesty
Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated.  You may discuss writing assignments and lab questions with your classmates, but all work submitted must be your own. Anyone caught cheating on quizzes (which includes allowing others to copy answers) will be subject to an academic dishonesty report and will AUTOMATICALLY FAIL THE CLASS–NO EXCEPTIONS.   The same is true of the writing assignments and lab.  There are no exceptions to this policy—no free passes, no leniency for minor cases, no anything.  Cheat and get caught and you fail.  It's that simple.

Your education is costing many people (you, your parents, taxpayers in MN, taxpayers in the US) a lot of money.  It's an opportunity that few people outside the US enjoy.  It's preparing you to be an informed citizen, a lynchpin of democracy.  Given all of that, why would you cheat?  Just do the work, do it by yourself, acknowledge the words of others when you need to use them, and don't devalue your education.

Late Assignments/Absences
Assignments will be distributed in class and submitted in class or to the instructor's mailbox. I cannot accept any assignments submitted via email.  There are simply too many people, too many file formats, too many viruses and too much room for "Gee, I sent it last week, are you sure you didn't get it..." shenanigans.  

There is no grace period for late assignments without prior consent of the TA or instructor.  

All students are given one "free pass", a late assignment that I will accept–no questions asked–up to one week past the due date.  All subsequent late assignment scores drop 20% per day and will not be accepted five calendar days past the due date.  Important note: you cannot turn in material for credit past one calendar week after the due date, free pass or not.

Exceptions are made for valid excuses, such as illness/death in the family or a medical note regarding your own illness.  Long spring breaks, hangovers, road trips, busy greek activities schedule, and the like are not valid excuses.  Don't bother me with them.  The quiz dates are known and will not change—don't schedule anything for those days.  If you already know that you will need to miss one or more quizzes because of prior commitments that are not valid excuses, then drop the class now.  

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