GEOL1301 Physical Geology

Course Description

Survey of Earth’s structure, composition, and the dynamic processes that have in the distribution of the Earth’s geographic regions, land forms, resources, and geologic hazards. Physical Geology includes the study of earth materials and earth processes. Earth materials consist of elements (atoms), minerals (combinations of atoms or molecules), and rocks (aggregates of minerals). Earth processes include mountain building (earthquakes, volcanism, and tectonism), erosion (mass wasting, erosion by wind & water) and deposition of eroded materials by wind, water, and biological processes. Understanding the principles of Physical Geology is a prerequisite for all further studies in geology.

Course Credits: 3

Prerequisites: Corerequisite GEOL 1101.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Define what geology is and identify what geologists do.
  • Identify the 3 types of plate boundaries (divergent, convergent, and transform) and explain the distribution of mountain ranges.
  • Recognize the relationship between plate boundaries and the occurrences of earthquakes and volcanoes.
  • Identify the different types of faults, including normal, reverse, thrust, and strike-slip, based on their characteristics.
  • Identify the criteria for igneous rock classification based on mineral proportions; distinguish between intrusive and extrusive rocks based on rock texture.
  • Identify the various types of volcanic activities and how they differ.
  • List the characteristics of the various types of clastic sedimentary rock, including the differences in their grain sizes.
  • Identify the different settings in which metamorphic rocks are formed, and explain the links between plate tectonics and metamorphism.
  • Understand the history of the geological time scale and the relationships between eons, eras, periods, and epochs, and explain the principals of geology used for relative age dating.
  • Identify different types of mass wasting.
  • Explain the formation of soils.
  • Identify different types of streams and their characteristics; explain the basic terminology related to flooding.
  • Define the basic concepts related to groundwater.
  • List the present and future energy resources utilized by humanity and their weaknesses and strengths.