Teach the Earth > Geodesy > Course Descriptions > Introduction to Physical Geology

Introduction to Physical Geology

Michael Kerwin
,
mkerwin@du.edu

University of Denver
a
University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs
.

Summary

Physical Geology is the study of the processes, materials and morphology of the Earth. The objectives of this course are to explore the physical and chemical processes that shape the surface and interior of the Earth.


Subject: Geoscience, Geology
Resource Type: Course Information
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14)
Course Type: Entry Level:Physical Geology
Course Size:
15-30

Course Context:

This is an introductory course with no prerequisites. It is a required class for further study in Geology. Typically 50% of the students take the class in preparation for advanced study in Geology, whereas 50% of the students take the class to fulfill the University's core curriculum requirements in the natural sciences. This course has a lab section which is mandatory for all students.

Course Goals:

  • Students should be able to describe the origin and formation of the Earth in relation to the origin of the universe and the solar system.
  • Students should be able to explain the basic structure of the Earth and the nature of solid Earth materials.
  • Students should be able to identify common rocks and rock-forming minerals.
  • Students should be able to describe the physical processes that operate to reshape our dynamic planet.
  • Students should be able to comprehend the magnitude of geological time and understand geology as a science founded on the assumption of uniformitarianism.
  • Students should be able to explain the theory of plate tectonics and use this theory to explain volcanoes, earthquakes, mountain chains, continental structure and the origin of the ocean basins.
  • Students should be able to describe the geologic history of the Denver area based on direct observations in the field.


How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Interactive lectures, discussions, laboratory exercises, and field trips are designed to allow students to explore the fundamentals of Physical Geology. Students should plan to reinforce these concepts by studying and outlining the assigned reading in the textbook. Students will be assessed based on their performance on quizzes, lecture and laboratory exams, and laboratory exercises.

Assessment

Students are assessed based on their performance on quizzes, exams, and laboratory exercises.

Syllabus:

Introduction to Physical Geology course syllabus (Microsoft Word 108kB Mar7 10)