Section: 0101
Spring, 2017
Plant Sciences 1113
Lectures: TTH 11:00 - 12:15
Lab: Tue 12:30 - 3:30 Geology 2107

Instructor: Dr. John W. Merck, Jr.
Office: Centreville 1218 (M, Tu) Geology 1119 (W, Th, F)
Phone: x5-2808, x5-4379
Office Hours: Tue 2:00 - 3:15 (Centreville 1218), Thu 2:00 - 3:00 (Geology 1119)

Teaching Assistant: Jack Hollingsworth
Office: Geology 4103
Office Hours: Thursday 4:00-5:00



Lectures: Plant Sciences 1113
TTH 11:00 - 12:15

Labs: Geology 2107 unless otherwise indicated
Tue 12:30 - 3:30


Required materials for field trips: Textbook, hand-lens, mechanical pencil, colored pencils, graph paper, grain-size chart (example), field notebook, rock hammer, outdoor gear for the field trips boots or sturdy shoes, hat, sunscreen, water bottle, rain gear, day pack.

Optional: acid bottle, pocket knife.

Description: Description, origin, and distribution of sediments and sedimentary rocks. Two mandatory weekend field trips.

On-line materials: Laboratory assignments and associated readings will be posted on the class elms website. The syllabus and lecture notes are at It is your responsibility to print out the lecture notes and laboratory assignments before the appropriate classes.

Class description and attendance policy: Attendance won't be taken, however lecture attendance is essential if you wish to have a good outcome. Exams will be based on lecture material including material from discussions, reading assignments, and field trips. Posted web notes are intended as a synopsis of lecture material only. Readings reinforce lecture material, however lectures may depart significantly from readings.

Final grades: Your final letter grade will be based on the following elements:

Appeal of grades: You may appeal your grade on any exam prior to the posting of final course grades. In this as in all college courses, you should retained all graded items until proper grades have been recorded on your transcript.

Prerequisites: Students enrolled in GEOL342 are expected to have passed GEOL322 - Mineralogy or its equivalent at another institution with a grade of C or better, or to have obtained specific permission from the instructor to enroll.

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

Laboratory: A short quiz based on the posted reading(s) and exercise for the laboratory (or of recent lecture material) will be given in the first 10 minutes of each session. The full laboratory time should be utilized to complete the exercises and ask questions of the teaching assistant. In some circumstances the materials (and teaching assistant) may not be available in non-laboratory times. The three scheduled petrography laboratories will be conducted in GEO 2117. Use of the petrographic microscopes requires special training and care. Exercises from the previous week are due at the beginning of the laboratory; there will be a 10% deduction of the grade for every day a laboratory is turned in past the due date. Missed laboratories may be made up only with university-approved excused absences; there will be no make up of Laboratories II (sieve) and III (pipette), which require group participation.


Lecture and exam schedule:

Date TopicReading
Week 1

1-26Introduction to sedimentary rocks Ch. 1

Week 2

1-31WeatheringCh. 2
1-31Lab I: Chemical Index of Alteration
2-2Clastic transport and fluid flow Ch. 3

Week 3

2-7Sedimentary structures ICh. 4
2-7Lab II: Sieve analysis
2-7Last day of add-drop
2-9Sedimentary structures IICh. 4

Week 4

2-14Sandstones and conglomerates Ch. 5
2-14Lab III: Pipette analysis
2-16Mudrocks Ch. 6

Week 5

2-21Chemical and biogenic rocks Ch. 13 & 14
2-21Lab IV: Stratigraphic Sections
2-23Midterm exam I

Week 6

2-28Terrestrial sedimentary environments I - alluvial fansCh. 8
2-28Lab V: Sandstone petrography
3-2Terrestrial sedimentary environments II - riversCh. 8

Week 7

3-7Terrestrial sedimentary environments III - eolian & glacialCh. 8
3-7Lab VI: Sedimentary Structures
3-9Marginal marine environmentsCh. 9

Sunday, March 12

3-12 (Sunday)Field Trip I

Week 8

3-14Lakes and Marine environments I - siliciclastic Ch. 10
3-14Lab VII: Trace and Body Fossils
3-16Carbonate sediments and chemistryCh. 11

3-20 to 3-24Spring Break

Week 9

3-28Marine environments II - carbonateCh. 12
3-28Lab VIII: Carbonate petrography and sedimentary facies
3-30LithostratigraphyCh. 15

Saturday - Sunday, April 1-2

4-1, 2Field Trip II

Week 10

4-4Sequence stratigraphy Ch. 17
4-4Lab IX: Evaporite Petrography
4-6Midterm exam II

Week 11

4-11BiostratigraphyCh. 16
4-11Lab X: Stratigraphy and Correlation
4-12Last day to withdraw with a W
4-13Seismic and geophysical Ch. 17

Week 12

4-18ChemostratigraphyCh. 17
4-18Lab XI: Shaw Diagrams
4-20MagnetostratigraphyCh. 17

Week 13

4-25Chronostratigraphy Ch. 18
4-25Lab XII: Using the Brunton Compass
4-27Diagenesis Ch. 8

Week 14

5-2Basis analysis

Ch. 19
4-30Lab XIII: TBD
5-4Tectonics and sedimentation

Ch. 19

Week 15

5-9Final project presentations

5-11Final project presentations, review and catch-up

Finals Week

5-13-2017, 8:00 - 10:00 AM Final Examination

The instructor reserves the right to modify this schedule at his most trivial whim.