NASC130 - Principles of Geology
In your department, do majors and non-majors take separate introductory courses? no
If students take a "non-majors" course, and then decide to become a major, do they have to go back and take an additional introductory course? no
Knowledge: Describe the origin of Earth and relate formation processes to Earth's current structure. Define and understand the chemistry of basic mineral structures; relate the arrangement of the SiO tetrahedron to the physical properties of silicate minerals. Label a plate tectonic cross-section with reference to Earth's layers, mantle processes, tectonic forces, igneous processes and volcanic landforms, metamorphic processes, and deformation; describe evidence for plate tectonic theory; comprehend the unifying aspects of plate tectonic theory. Know the mantle processes related to the production of magma; relate magma production processes to the tectonic setting of igneous rocks, volcanic processes, and volcanic landforms. Relate sediment characteristics to the processes of the sedimentary cycle and to sedimentary environment. Describe the evolution of stream characteristics along a longitudinal profile and through time. Label a hydrogeologic cross-section and classify water sources according to FDA standards for bottled water; assess bottled water labels for geologic meaning. Know the principles used to determine relative geologic age; use these principles to interpret geologic cross sections. Know and comprehend the variables of the radiometric age equation and their significance in the determination of absolute geologic age. Apply principles of relative and absolute geologic time to comprehension of the depth of geologic time. Apply understanding of geologic materials and processes to the interpretation of regional geologic history and the geology of the Bentley campus. Relate tectonic forces to deformation processes and strain (faults and folds); categorize faults and folds by geometry and geologic significance; relate deformation to orogenic characteristics. Describe the earthquake cycle; compare and contrast earthquake magnitude and intensity; describe seismic waves; analyze seismic waves for information on epicenter; describe the use of seismic waves in the study of Earth's interior.
Skills: Master and apply the skills required to accurately observe and identify geologic materials (rocks and minerals). Interpretation of geologic and topographic map data; relate topography to geologic characteristics and landforms. Development of skills applicable to laboratory exercises: critical thinking, quantitative analysis, effective collaboration, and problem-solving capabilities. Application of geologic knowledge and use of appropriate equipment in the development and completion of original investigative research.
Perspective: Appreciation for the beauty and intricacies of geologic materials, processes, and landforms. Appreciation of the interconnectedness of natural processes and human activities.
References and Notes:
We require a textbook that is straightforward and clear. Some of the "essentials" texts for nonmajors are too simplified; this textbook provides a better balance. Additionally, we find that the figures in this textbook are clear, attractive, and relatively accurate.
We have ceased using a lab manual to reduce the textbook costs for students - particularly as students are not destined for future science courses. Additionally, we found that we were modifying manual exercises to such a degree that it was hardly worth the purchase. We now write our own exercises.
Students are required to read a weekly pre-lab document that introduces and/or reinforces concepts critical to the week's lab assignment. These assignments are written by the professor and posted on Blackboard.