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GEOL 102 - Introduction to Earth History
Course Code:
GEOL 102


Calendar Description:
Introduction to Earth History, Geology 102, (4 credit hours) covers the geologic origin and development of the earth; emphasis is placed on the sedimentological record, processes and interpretations of sedimentary depositional environments and fossils found therein. Attention will be given to the concepts, methods, and evidence used to reconstruct earth history beginning with the origin of Earth, through Earth's geologic development, to the present, including the origin and evolution of life of Earth. The lecture will cover examples from primary literature where possible. The laboratory component will be a practical application of the concepts covered in lecture.

Total Hours: 90
Lecture Hours: 3
Laboratory Hours: 3

Grade 12, or with instructor's permission

Course Content:
Lecture Component:

I Historical Geology - beginnings of the study of Earth History
- the age of the Earth & development of the Geological Time
- relative and absolute dating

II Rocks and Minerals - basic mineralogy
- common rock-forming minerals
- the rock cycle (igneous, sedimentary & metamorphic

III The Rock Record - environments of life
- environments of deposition

IV Structural Geology - tectonics
- folds and faults
- volcanoes & earthquakes

V Fossil & Evolution - major fossil groups
- fossil succession & stratigraphy

VI Geologic Life History - Precambrian
- Paleozoic
- Mesozoic
- Cenozoic

Laboratory Component:

Lab 1 Introduction to Fossils

Lab 2 Preservation of Fossils and Depositional Environments

Lab 3 Principles of Stratigraphic Correlation (Steno)

Lab 4 Plate Tectonics and Folds, Faults & Unconformities

Lab 5 Radiometric dating, relative dating (popcorn analogy)

Lab 6 Grand Interpretation

Lab 7 Pre-Cambrian: BIFs & Ediacara and Vendian faunas

Lab 8 Paleozoic: Fossil identification & drawing fossils

Lab 9 Mesozoic: Ammonite bites & vertebrae shapes

Lab 10 Tertiary: fossil picking and NALMA's

Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course the student will:
- have a thorough understanding of the principles and methods used to decipher Earth History;
- have a detailed understanding of the geological evolution of the Earth;
- have a detailed understanding of the evolution of Earth's biosphere;
- know and be able to use the geological time scale;
- have an appreciation for the role that historical geology plays in science and the future of humankind and society

Grading System:

Grading Weight:
Final Exam: 35 %
Midterm Exam: 25 %
Lab Work: 40 %

Other Programs:
Associate of Arts Diploma
Associate of Arts Degree
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