Las Positas College
3000 Campus Hill Drive
Livermore, CA 94551-7650
(925) 443-0742 (Fax)
Course Outline for Geology 1
GEOL 1—PHYSICAL GEOLOGY—3 units
The Earth, its materials, its internal and external processes, and its development through time. Emphasis is placed on a thorough global understanding of Plate Tectonics as a framework and foundation for subsequent geologic topics and concepts. Topics include volcanoes, earthquakes and seismology, the Geologic Time Scale and the formation of the earth, rocks and minerals, hydrology, erosion, beach systems, environmental geology, glaciation, groundwater, etc. Course content includes the difference between theory and fact and the historical development of key geologic concepts. This is the foundation course for almost all subsequent geology courses for both geology majors and non-majors. 3 hours lecture.
II.NUMBER OF TIMES COURSE MAY BE TAKEN FOR CREDIT: One
III.PREREQUISITE AND/OR ADVISORY SKILLS: None
Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:
explain the scientific method; and to be able to differentiate facts from theories;
describe the basic features of the earth including the tilt, the seasons, the size of the earth, the basic features of the atmosphere, the oceans and the basic layers inside the earth;
discuss the common theories regarding the formation of the Earth, its atmosphere, oceans and internal layers;
identify the basic fundamental geologic features of the Earth; examples include the mid-oceanic ridge, trenches, etc.;
explain and discuss the emergence of Plate Tectonic Theory in the history of geologic science;
analyze and discuss the evidence for Plate Tectonics and to apply plate tectonics to the interpretation and analysis of basic geologic features
explain what minerals are and how they are formed;
categorize the three basic rock groups and the common rock types in each group; to explain their origin and classification system;
discuss volcanoes and volcanism; to explain where and why volcanoes occur, to differentiate types of volcanoes, to explain how volcanoes relate to plate tectonics, to discuss eruption prediction, etc.;
demonstrate a knowledge of the Geologic Time Scale, to describe the fossil record and to explain radiometric dating and to calculate geologic ages;
explain the basics of stratigraphy and to analyze relative age-dating geologic configurations;
explain the formation of oil, gas and coal;
discuss, identify and analyze the processes and features formed by surficial processes such as weathering/erosion, mass-wasting, rivers, coastlines, glaciers, groundwater, wind, etc.;
identify and explain the basics of structural geology; including folds and faults and their relationships to plate tectonics;
discuss and describe the science of seismology and earthquakes; including how to read seismograms, how to locate earthquakes, the current state of earthquake prediction, and remote sensing of the interior of the earth;
apply the basic geology learned in this course to the interpretation of the basic geology of other planets.
Fundamental Basic Features of the Earth
Tilt & Seasons
Size: radius and circumference
Atmosphere (size, thickness, density variation with height, average composition)
Areal % of globe; depth; maximum and average
Solid Earth: Interior; crust, mantle, core
Formation of the Earth and the Universe
Concept of Theory vs. Fact
The Big Bang
The formation of the Solar System
The formation of the Earth’s
Early crust, continents and ocean floors
Early mantle and core
Early oceans (where did the water come from?)
The Interior of the Earth
Features of Each Layer:
Chemistry; sialic or mafic
Density, solid, molten, rigid or brittle, plastic solids, etc.
Upper mantle features
Middle mantle features
Lower mantle (mesosphere) features
Outer Core features
Inner Core features
Evidence for and evolution of Plate Tectonic Theory
Evidence for Continental Drift
Continents as jigsaw puzzle
Fit along continental shelves
Evidence from rocks
Evidence from fossils
Evidence from paleoclimates
Evidence from mountain ranges
Ocean Floor evidence & discoveries
Bathymetry: Mid-Oceanic Ridge (MOR)
Apparent Polar Wandering
1968 Deep Sea Drilling Project
Ocean floor rocks too young
90% of sediment missing
MOR is a volcano
MOR is rifting
Sea Floor Spreading
Impact of Plate Tectonic Theory to the fundamentals of global geologic interpretations
Three Types of Plate Edges and their geologic features: volcanoes, earthquakes, etc.
Identification and analysis of global geologic features using Plate Tectonic Theory
Theories of Driving Mechanisms for Plate Tectonics
Mantle Convection, etc.
Discussion of Theory vs. Fact in science
Crustal deformation and mountain building
Supercontinents and Plate Tectonic reconstructions
The Geologic Time Scale
Eons, Eras and Periods
What geologic event occurred at the beginning/end of each Eon and Era
Radiometric Age Dating
Radioactive decay and half-lives
Commonly used elements, including radiocarbon and other commonly used radioactive elements
Basic Fossil Record through Time
Iron Banded Formation; accumulation of oxygen in atmosphere
Metazoans; Ediacara fauna
Age of Invertebrates
Age of Fishes
Age of Amphibians
Age of Reptiles (including dinosaurs)
Age of Mammals
What are Minerals?
How do Minerals Form?
Basic Rock Types and Processes
The Rock Cycle
Igneous rocks and igneous activity
Basic igneous rock types
Where and how these rocks are formed
Igneous rocks within Plate Tectonic settings
What causes the rock to melt?
Bowen’s Reaction Series
Basic Igneous Rock Features/Formations (e.g., batholiths, dikes, sills, etc.)
Volcanoes and Vulcanism
Types of Volcanoes
Volcanoes within Plate Tectonic Settings
Features of Volcanoes and their eruptions
Hot Springs, geysers, geyserite, fumaroles
Sedimentary rocks and their deposition
Basic Types of Sedimentary Rocks
Formation and Types of Coral Reefs
Formation of Oil, Gas and Coal
Relative Age Dating
Law of Horizontality
Law of Superposition
The Present is the Key to the Past
Sedimentological Features such as cross-bedding, graded bedding, mudcracks, etc.
Metamorphism and metamorphic rocks
Basic Types of Metamorphic Rocks
How do Metamorphic Rocks Form?
Where do Metamorphic Rocks form; Plate Tectonics settings
Weathering & Erosion
Basic Types of Weathering
Mechanical; ice-wedging, sheeting, exfoliation, etc.
Water; Universal Solvent
Rates of Weathering; Bowen’s Reaction Series
Driving forces and mechanisms
Angle of Repose
Types of Landslides and Mass Wasting
The Hydrologic Cycle
Basic Features of River Systems
Floodplains and their features and processes
Erosional cliff coastline features and processes
Depositional beach features and processes
Comparison of East and West Coasts of the United States
Basic Glacial Features and Processes
Types of Glaciers
The Ice Ages and Historic Global Climate Changes
Basic Groundwater Features and Processes
Aquifers and Aquicludes
Artesian Wells and Aquifers
Cone of depression
Saltwater encroachment (intrusion)
Groundwater contamination (landfills, septic tanks, etc.)
Speleology and Karst Topography
Basic processes and features of caves and cave formation
Eolian Systems (Wind and Deserts)
Basic Processes and Features of Eolian Systems
Types of Sand Dunes and Wind Direction
Processes of Formation of basic surficial landforms
Identification of basic geology from the geomorphology
Including plateaus, mesas, buttes, cuestas, hogbacks, flatirons, cap rocks, types of volcanoes, types of mass-wasting, types of glaciation, beach processes, types of dunes and wind directions, etc.
Strike-Slip; Right and Left Lateral
Identification of Faults from surface geology and geomorphology
Plate Tectonic Settings
Extensional Tectonics; Horst and Graben, Listric Normal Faults
Compressional Tectonics; Folds and Reverse Faults
Block Faulting/Rotation and the California Sierra Nevada
Seismology and Earthquakes
Where and Why Do Earthquakes Occur?
Types of Earthquake Waves
Typical Seismic Record
Locating the Earthquake Epicenter and Hypocenter
Intensity and Magnitude Scales
Rossi-Forel and Modified Mercalli Scales
Richter Magnitude, Moment Magnitude, etc.
Seismic Remote Sensing of the Interior of the Earth
P & S Wave Shadow Zones
Global Seismic Network
Common ideas of earthquake predictors (e.g., “earthquake weather”, animal behavior, etc.)
Has an Earthquake ever been accurately predicted?...China….
Earthquake Cycle – Parkfield, CA
Was the Loma Prieta Earthquake predicted?
The Geology of Other Planets
Applying the geologic processes and features learned in this course to the interpretation of the geology of other planets
VI.METHODS OF INSTRUCTION:
Lecture and discussions
CD-ROM images and animations
35mm and PowerPoint slides
Textbook and textbook CD-ROM
Read Chapters 1 thru 4. Look up the vocabulary words in these chapters and complete online Vocabulary Quiz 1. Use the textbook glossary and index, the Geologic Dictionaries available in the Science Center, and Internet search engines such as Google.
Memorize the Eons, Eras and Periods of the Geologic Time Scale
Complete the Study Guide questions for Exam 2.
Locate the following geologic features and learn how to find them on geomorphic maps. Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon, Hawaii, Midway, The Marianas Islands, Devil’s Tower, Gui Lin, China, etc. Use the textbook CD-ROM, the maps in the textbook and the Internet – National Geographic Map Machine and Google Image searches.
Read Chapter 15 in the textbook.
Look up all vocabulary for this chapter.
Learn to identify the geomorphic features in this chapter in satellite images and regular aerial and ground photos.
Make sure that you understand the basic geologic processes discussed in this Chapter.
Complete the questions in the Study Guide that refer to the topics in this chapter.
Research Paper. Submit a 5-10 page 12-point paper on a geologic topic approved by the instructor.
Presentation. Create and present a 5-10 minute presentation on a geologic topic approved by the instructor.
Homework – includes vocabulary, geography, geologic time scale, textbook CD-ROM, and textbook material not covered in class presentations
Quizzes and Midterms– includes short answer, multiple choice, and essay questions; includes geologic interpretation of satellite, aerial and standard photos, identification and interpretation of geologic features from geomorphic maps
On-Line Quizzes and/or Essays – may use the textbook website quizzes and/or Blackboard Quizzes – online quizzes are at the discretion of the instructor
Term Paper or Student Presentations (instructor’s option)
Final examinations – comprehensive, similar layout to quizzes and midterm examinations
Homework can be assigned daily, weekly or all at the beginning of the term or only as needed, at the discretion of the instructor
Quizzes will be given daily, weekly, bi-weekly or at the discretion of the instructor
Quizzes/Midterms/Final Exam/Term Paper – at least 3 or 4 total. For example, there may be 2 midterms, one final exam and one term paper. Or, there may be 4 on-line quizzes, 3 in-class midterms and one in-class final exam.
The comprehensive Final Exam will be given at the end of the semester on the day specified in the campus Final Exam schedule.
Hamblin, W.K. and Christiansen, E.H. The Earth’s Dynamic Systems. 10th edition or later. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Publishers, 2007 or latest edition.
Plummer, C.C., McGeary, D. and Carlson, D.H. Physical Geology, 11th edition or later. San Francisco: McGraw-Hill Publishers, 2007 or latest edition.
Monroe, J.S. and Wicander, R. Physical Geology, 5th edition or later. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishers, 2006 or latest edition.
Press, F. and Siever, R. Earth, 4th edition or later. New York: WH Freeman Publishers, 1986 or latest edition.
Grotzinger, J., Press, F. et.al. Understanding Earth, 5th edition or later. New York: WH Freeman Publishers, 2006 or later edition.
Tarbuck, E.J. and Lutgens, F.K. Earth, An Introduction to Physical Geology, 9th edition or later. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Publishers, 2008 or later; with Geode III CD-ROM by Dennis Tasa
X.OTHER MATERIALS REQUIRED/RECOMMENDED OF STUDENTS:
Access to the internet and computers, through the LPC Computer Center, or access to a personal computer at home with an internet connection
A small booklight for taking notes while satellite and slides are discussed in class
A set of colored pencils
Study guides as made available by the instructor
Creation Date: 1993
Revision Date: 10/04; 2//04
Date Approved by Curriculum Committee: 11/09/09
Date Approved for Distance Education: 5/04
Date Approved by Board of Trustees: 11/09/09
Effective Date: Fall 2010