GEOS 2004 - Evolution of the Earth System
Course URL: http://www.ou.edu/mcee.html
This introductory course has no prerequisites, but certain background knowledge is assumed:
- Ability to access the course web site.
- Ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide.
- Ability to understand fractions and ratios.
- An understanding of scientific notation.
- Ability to carry out metric - English unit conversions.
- Ability to read simple charts, graphs, and maps.
- A working knowledge of world geography.
Students will develop:
- An informed view of the past, present, and likely future behavior of the Earth System,
- A basic understanding about how and why there is continuous change in the Earth System, and
- An aesthetic appreciation of phenomena that occur in, on, and around Planet Earth.
The learning objectives of the course are for students to:
- know key facts about the main components of the Earth System and its bounding space environment.
- understand the meaning of scientific thought in an Earth System context.
- be able to use simple numerical models of the planetary system and its major sub-systems to explore the evolution of the Earth System over time.
In striving for a "paperless course" built around the World Wide Web, almost all the course materials can be found posted on the course web site. There is no required textbook. A recommended text that covers much of the material in the couse is:
- Smil, Vaclav, 1997: Cycles of Life: Civilization and the biosphere. Scientific American Library, distributed by W.H. Freeman and Company, New York, New York. 221 pp. ISBN 0-7167-5079-1.
The following texts are recommended to broaden understanding of the Earth System:
- Broecker, Wallace S., 1985: How to Build a Habitable Planet. Eldigio Press, LDGO Box#2, Palisades, New York 10964.
- Lovelock, James E., 1991: Healing Gaia - Practical Medicine for the Planet, Harmony Books, New York. 192 pp.
- Weiner, Jonathan, 1986: Planet Earth. Bantam, New York. 370 pp.
- Westbroek, Peter, 1992: Life as a Geological Force, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York. 240 pp.
In-class Quizzes (5-10) - 100 points
Laboratories (15) - ? points
Term Modeling Project - 350 points