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Page developed for SERC by Gary Solar of Buffalo State College.

Geology of New York State

Gary Solar
Author Profile

Buffalo State College

Course Type:
Physical Geology

Course Size:
15-30

Course Summary

This course, intended for in-service science teachers who may not possess a geoscience background, is designed as a systematic approach to understanding the entirety of geology as recorded by earth materials, and those found in New York State in particular. The course is not intended to substitute for discipline-specific courses, but is meant to be an application of basics of physical geology in a systems context. New York State geology is particularly appropriate for this course because geologic time recorded spans almost 1.5 billion years and every aspect of the science from mineralogy-petrology to paleontology-sedimentology-stratigraphy to glaciology-geomorphology to structural geology-tectonics. The early part of the course is devoted to learning and re-emphasizing the essential tools of the geologist, including a command of the basics. Otherwise the course is designed in three parts that are integrated throughout in the context of the State's record of the geologic system.

For Dr. Solar's reflections on the course and its design, see Geology of New York: Role in the Program.

Course Context:

This is a second-level introductory course with a pre-requisite of introductory geology lecture and laboratory. It does not serve as a prerequisite for other courses. Typical enrollment is in-service science teachers whom may or may not have a geoscience background other than the introductory course. Other enrolled students are pre-service science teachers. The course is integrated lecture and lab.

Course Goals:

By the end of this course students will:

Course Content:

This second-level introductory course is designed for in-service teachers to examine the entirety of geology as recorded by earth materials found in New York State. This is a tall order in a single class for two reasons. First, New York State geology spans almost 1.5 billion years of earth history and every aspect of the science from mineralogy and petrology to glaciology and geomorphology to structural geology and tectonics. Second, the intended student audience may or may not have any more experience in the Earth sciences beyond the introductory survey course. Therefore, the course is designed so that with some background information early on (to be reinforced during the course as needed) so the goal of examining New York State geology is easily done by anyone both in detail and in the 'big picture'.

The early part of the course is devoted to learning the essential tools of the geologist, including a command of the basics (e.g., mineral and rock identification skills). Beyond this introductory stage, the course is designed in three parts (bedrock geology, surficial geology, and geology and people). However, it is to be plain that these parts although separable on geology-discipline grounds, are not necessarily independent topics for the geology of the State. The Adirondack Mountains are a prime example of how old mountains can be renewed by younger geological processes. Because of this, it is the intent of the course design to integrate disciplines in the context of the State. The course is not intended to replace an education in the specific geology disciplines covered in other courses.

Teaching Materials:

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Assessment:

Methods of assessment used in this course include:

References and Notes:

Isachsen et al., 2000, Geology of New York, A Simplified Account, 2nd Ed., New York State Museum, Educational Leaflet 28.

Electronic Resources

New York State Museum, geology pages - highly recommended

webmineral.com (a resource for mineral indentification and data)