GEOL 111 Physical Geology

Rob Benson

Adams State College (Public four-year institution, primarily undergraduate)


An introduction to the materials of the earth and the internal and surficial processes that have acted upon the earth through time. Laboratory work includes identification and classification of minerals and rocks and exercises involving topographic and geological maps.

Course Type: Intro Level:Physical Geology
Course Size:

Course Context:

Physical Geology is the introductory survey course for students entering the geology programs that results in BA, BS, or a minor. The course is listed as a prerequisite for 80% of the courses that have a "GEOL" prefix. Since, the course is an introductory level survey course in science, it also fulfills the requirements of a general education course

Course Goals:

Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to:
- define/articulate earth science concepts and definitions such as geologic time, uniformitarianism, superposition
- to describe the basic components and interrelations of the rock cycle.
- demonstrate/articulate a basic knowledge of how continents and mountains are formed and how they become deformed.
- interpret landscapes and describe to others what surficial processes are responsible for the landforms they see (i.e. how running water, wind, and ice transforms the surface of the earth).
- describe important geologic structures
- be able to identify important rock-forming minerals


- Lectures are the basis of the knowledge being tested during any lecture examination; about 90% of the material on the exams comes from material presented in lecture, with 10% being based upon assigned readings from the textbook. Attendance is not counted as part of grade; grade is determined 100% by performance on exams and labs. There are approximately 12 laboratory exercises (including quizzes) that follow any of the published physical geology laboratory workbooks. Course grades have been weighted such that about 80% is based upon lecture examination and about 20% is based upon laboratory performance. Lecture examinations have been curved, whereas laboratory exercises have not been curved. A comprehensive final examination is given in the final exam period.
- Student performance is assessed individually with respect to objective, performance-based criteria derived from and consistent with the course goals.
- Letter grades are assigned on the basis of the percentage of total available points earned by each student individually, as follows:
Class average letter grade
90-100 A
80-89 B
70-79 C
60-69 D
< 60 F


Syllabus (Microsoft Word 162bytes Jun23 06)

Teaching Materials:

References and Notes:

-Lecture text: Press, Siever, Grotzinger and Jordan, 2004, UNDERSTANDING EARTH- 4th Edition
Laboratory Text: Introduction to Physical Geology Laboratory, Department of Geology and Environmental Science textbook, available through the ASC Geological Society