Plant Sciences 1115
MWF 9:00 - 9:50 AM
Lecturer: John Merck
Office: Geology 1119 (Occasionally in Centreville 1218)
Office Hours: Thursday, 12:00 - 2:00
Phone: 301-405-4379 (Geology), 301-405-2808 (Centreville)
Lectures: Plant Sciences 1115
Time: MWF 9:00 - 9:50 AM
Description: An examination of the geologic and geochemical processes at work in the solar system from the perspectives supplied by space age exploration of the planets and other solar system bodies.
GenEd: This class fulfills a GenEd Distributive Studies Natural Science Course requirement (DSNS).
CORE: This class fulfills a CORE Physical Science Course requirement (PS).
Restriction: GEOL212 and ASTR330 - Solar System Astronomy cannot both be taken for credit.
Other courses: GEOL212 is an introductory level course that requires no college-level prerequisites. If you are looking for a more rigorous introduction to the Solar System and have the necessary prerequisites, you might consider ASTR430 - The Solar System or GEOL412 - The Geology of the Terrestrial Planets.
Attendance policy: Attendance is not a direct factor in your grade, however poor lecture attendance is strongly correlated with poor overall performance. Exams will be based on lecture material and reading assignments. Posted web notes are intended as a synopsis of lecture material only. Readings reinforce lecture material, however lectures may depart significantly from readings.
ELMS: This web site is your primary source of GEOL212 course material. Grade records and some ancillary materials are available, however, through ELMS.
Final grades: Your final letter grade will be based on the following elements:
- Homework: (20%) Eleven assignments, each due the beginning of the week in which the material they cover will be addressed in lecture. The lowest score will be dropped. Because the purpose of these is to prepare you for the week's lecture material, late homework will not be accepted except in the most serious extenuating circumstances. Homework is due at the beginning of lecture each Monday and will only be accepted during the lecture meeting.
- Semester project: (20%) You work in small groups to deliver a twelve minute oral presentation and write a paper of roughly ten pages summarizing contemporary research horizons on a planet or group of small planetary bodies.
- Midterm exams (3): (20% each with the lowest score dropped)
- Final exam: (20%) A cumulative paper final exam is given during the final period. The final is closed-book and taken in person in the exam hall.
Expectations: GEOL212 is an introductory course without college prerequisites, however it is expected that students will possess the standard knowledge expected of a high school graduate, including proficient comprehension of written and spoken English, and basic algebra and chemistry.
Grade calculation: With diligent work it is possible for each student to attain an A in this class. Grading will be based on points gained from the examinations listed above, as follows:
|100-97% = A+,||96-94% = A,||93-90% = A-,|
|89-87% = B+,||86-84% = B,||83-80% = B-,|
|79-77% = C+,||76-74% = C,||73-70% = C-,|
|69-67% = D+,||66-64% = D,||63-60% = D-,|
|<60% = F|
- Absences: Regular attendance and participation in this class is the best way to grasp the concepts and principles being discussed. However, reasonable accommodations for excused absences (as defined by university policy) will be provided where feasible. Students remain responsible for graded activities and information presented during lectures for which their absences are excused. For an absence to be excused, timely notification is required:
- Anticipated absences for sanctioned events including:
- Religious observances
- Mandatory military obligations
- Athletic events
- Participation in university events at the request of university authorities
- For unanticipated events such as:
- Medically necessary absence from class
- Family emergencies
- Court appearances
- Anticipated absences for sanctioned events including:
- Accommodations for People with Disabilities: If you have a documented disability, you should contact the instructor during the first week of class, and contact Disability Support Services 0126 Shoemaker Hall. Each semester students with documented disabilities should apply to DSS for accommodation request forms which you can provide to your professors as proof of your eligibility for accommodations. The rules for eligibility and the types of accommodations a student may request can be reviewed on the DSS web site.
- Dishonesty: The Student Honor Council observes that, "The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students. As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course. It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit http://osc.umd.edu/OSC/StudentNotice.aspx."
Thus, in GEOL212, work submitted under your name, even for extra credit, must unambiguously be exclusively your own. Any evidence of dishonesty on any graded assignment will result in a referral to the Office of Student Conduct, whereupon your life will become very interesting, indeed. Have a nice day. :-O
For additional information on course policies, please consult the Office of Undergraduate Studies' comprehensive web site on Course Related Policies.
- Course Evaluations: CourseEvalUM will be open for students to complete their evaluations
for Fall 2016 courses between ***, and ***. Students can go
directly to the website to complete their evaluations,
beginning November ***. You will be alerted about these dates and provided more information closer
to that time, and students will be alerted via their official University e-mail account.
Students who complete evaluations for all of their courses in the previous semester (excluding summer), can access the posted results via Testudo's CourseEvalUM Reporting link for any course on campus that has at least a 70% response rate.
The expectation is that all students will complete these. This is YOUR chance to anonymously evaluate this class: please use this opportunity!
- Acknowledgements: The instructor is grateful for the assistance of Drs. Andrew Campbell and Alan Peel, much of whose course material serves as a basis for these lectures.
- Copyright: © 2016 John W. Merck, Jr. as to this syllabus and all lectures. Students are prohibited from copying and selling course materials, from selling lecture notes, and from being paid to take lecture notes without the express written permission of the faculty teaching this course.
|8-29||Course introduction, policies, the Scientific Method|
|8-31||General orientation to the Solar System I||Ch. 1: section 1.1.1 and 1.3|
|9-2||General orientation to the Solar System II||Ch. 1: sections 1.1.2-4 and 1.4|
|9-7||General orientation to the Solar System III |
Due: Homework 1
|Ch. 1: section 1.1.5-6|
|9-9||General orientation to the Solar System IV||Ch. 1: sections 1.1.7-11|
|9-12||Last day of add-drop|
|9-12||An age of wonders
Due: Homework 2
|9-14||Chemistry and physics in 50 minutes!|
|9-16||Planetary motion: Gravity, orbits, and tides||Ch. 7: sections 7.1-2|
|9-16||Exam review TBD|
|9-19||Midterm exam I|
|9-21||Surface processes I: Impact cratering|
Due: Homework 3
Due: Homework 1 for regrade.
|Ch. 4: sections 4.1 - 4.6|
|9-23||Surface processes II: Sedimentology||Ch. 4: section 4.7|
|9-26||Internal structure and densities of the solid worlds I - chemical evidence|
Due: Homework 4
Due: Homework 2 for regrade.
|Ch. 2: sections 2.1|
|9-28||Internal structure and densities of the solid worlds II - physical evidence||Ch. 2: section 2.2|
|9-30||Formation and differentiation of the planets||Ch. 2: section 2.3|
|10-3||Sources and movement of heat within planets|
Due: Homework 5
Due: Homework 3 for regrade.
|Ch. 2: section 2.4|
|10-5||Earth Tectonics I||Ch. 2: section 2.5
|10-7||Earth Tectonics II|
|10-10||Comparative tectonics I - The inner Solar System|
Due: Homework 6
Due: Homework 4 for regrade.
|10-12||Comparative tectonics II - The outer Solar System|
|10-13 - 5:00-6:30||Exam review CCC 1105|
|10-14||Midterm exam II|
|10-17||Volcanism I: sources and composition of magma
Due: Homework 7
Due: Homework 5 for regrade.
|Ch. 3: sections 3.1 - 3.2|
|10-19||Volcanism II: Styles of volcanic eruptions, volcano - atmosphere interactions|
|10-21||Volcanism III: comparative volcanism on the solid worlds
||Ch. 3: sections 3.3 - 3.5|
|10-24||Atmospheres of the solid worlds I: origin and composition
Due: Homework 8
Due: Homework 6 for regrade.
Semester project introduced FOR REAL
|Ch. 5: sections 5.1 - 5.3|
|10-26||Atmospheres of the solid worlds II: Structure and heat transport, magnetospheres, and the solar wind||Ch. 5: sections 5.4 - 5.7|
|10-28||No class meeting - independent study|
|10-31||The giant planets I: The Gas Giants - Jupiter and Saturn|
Due: Homework 9
Due: Homework 7 for regrade.
|Ch. 6: sections 6.1 - 6.3|
|11-2||The giant planets II: The Ice Giants - Uranus and Neptune||Ch. 6: sections 6.4 - 6.5|
|11-4||Ring and satellite systems|
|11-7||Last day to drop with a W|
|11-7||Minor bodies I: Asteroids|
Due: Homework 10
Due: Homework 8 for regrade.
|Ch. 7: section 7.1 and 7.3|
|11-9||Minor bodies II: Pluto, centaurs, and the the Trans-Neptunian Objects||Ch. 7: section 7.4|
|11-10||Exam review in Cambridge Community Center 1100 - 5:00 - 6:30|
|11-11||Midterm exam III|
|11/14||Minor bodies III: Comets||Ch. 7: section 7.5 - 7.6|
|11-16||The natural history of meteorites||Ch. 9: section 9.1|
|11-18||Meteorite geochemistry and why we actually know what we know|
Due: Homework 11
Due: Homework 9 for regrade.
|Ch. 9: section 9.2 - 9.3|
|11-21||Stars and the interstellar medium|
Due: Homework 10 for regrade.
|11-28||Exoplanets - What do we really know about solar systems?|
|11-30||The formation of the Solar System
Due: Homework 11 for regrade.
|12-2||Life in the Solar System I - Earth and Mars|
|12-5||Life in the Solar System II - Sirens of Titan and oceans of Europa; Summary and catch-up|
Catch-up and review.
|12-17||8:00-10:00 PLS 1115 FINAL EXAM|
The instructor reserves the right to modify this schedule at his most trivial whim.