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GO 521: History of Geology

James S. Aber
James S. Aber
James S. Aber

Emporia State University

Course Type:

Course Size:


course url: http://academic.emporia.edu/aberjame/histgeol/

This is a history-of-geology course that includes a great deal of Earth history material. From the syllabus: The historical development of geology as a scientific discipline from ancient civilizations to the modern space age. Historical context and cultural basis of major geological theories regarding the origin of the Earth and processes that have influenced the Earth's development. The lives and contributions of individuals, whose ideas have shaped scientific thought and public opinion. Scientific technology, exploration, and the changing role of science through time. History of American and Kansan geology.

Course Context:

GO 521 is an online course. The prerequisites are Introduction to Geology or History of Science.

Course Goals:

Through this course, students will learn:
  • Who developed the major ideas of geology and when they did it.
  • How the ideas were shaped over time.
  • What role geological institutions played in the development of geology.

Course Content:

The course focuses on the ideas of individual geologists from ancient Egypt through the present and how those generated our modern understanding of the Earth. The "Geology Listing" with its attached bibliographies is the heart of the course.

Teaching Materials:

This website contains:
  • A detailed bibliography on the history of geology
  • A list of historic geologists, many of which have short, linked biographies
  • Considerable technical information about the course
  • Images of US stamps with minerals.


The grade is based on several reports, two exams, class participation, and a web page presentation, detailed under "Course Procedures".

References and Notes:

Unfortunately, the main text (and most if not all of the supplementary texts) is out of print.