GEOL 102 - Introduction to Earth History

Introduction to Earth History, Geology 102, 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.


Credits: 4


Hours: 90 (Lecture Hours: 45; Laboratory Hours: 45)


Grade 12, or with instructor’s permission


Non-Course Prerequisites:




Course Content:
Lecture Component:
- Historical Geology - beginnings of the study of Earth History
    The age of the Earth & development of the Geological Time Scale
    Relative and absolute dating
- Rocks and Minerals - basic mineralogy
    Common rock-forming minerals
    The rock cycle (igneous, sedimentary & metamorphic minerals)
- The Rock Record
   Environments of life
   Environments of deposition
- Structural Geology - tectonics
   Folds and faults
   Volcanoes & earthquakes
- Fossil & Evolution - major fossil groups
   Fossil succession & stratigraphy
- Geologic Life History - Precambrian
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: Letters


Passing Grade: D (50 %)


Textbooks are subject to change.  Please contact the bookstore at your local campus for current book lists.