Section: 0101
Fall, 2017
Plant Sciences 1172
Lectures: MWF 1:00 - 1:50
Lab: Tue 3:30 - 6:30 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 12:00 - 2:00 (Geology 1119)

Teaching Assistant: Will Hoover
Office: Chemistry 1223B
Office Hours: 9:00 - 10:00 AM Fridays



Lectures: Plant Sciences 1172
MWF 1:00 - 1:50

Labs: Geology 2107 unless otherwise indicated
Tue 3:30 - 6:30


Field trips: Three field trips will be conducted. Students are encouraged to attend all three, however, the first two, scheduled for 9/24 and 10/14 are optional in that a student may choose one or the other. The third field trip, on 11/4-5 is mandatory. Thus, overall, students are required to participate in two weekend field trips. /P>

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

8-28Introduction to sedimentary rocks Ch. 1
8-30WeatheringCh. 2
9-1Soils and Depositional EnvironmentsCh. 2

Week 2

9-5Lab I: Chemical Index of Alteration
9-6Clastic transport I: fluid driven Ch. 3
9-8Clastic transport II: gravity driven Ch. 3

Week 3

9-11Sedimentary structures ICh. 4
9-12Lab II: Sieve analysis
9-13Sedimentary structures IICh. 4
9-15Clastic rocks - ConglomeratesCh. 4

Week 4

9-18Clastic rocks - SandstonesCh. 5
9-19Lab XII: Using the Brunton Compass
9-20Clastic rocks - Mudrocks Ch. 6
9-22Chemical sedimentary rocks Ch. 13 & 14

Field Trip I

9-24 (Sunday)Field Trip I - Western Maryland

Week 5

9-25Biogenic sedimentary rocks Ch. 13 & 14
9-26Lab IV: Stratigraphic Sections
9-27Midterm exam I
9-29Terrestrial sedimentary environments I - alluvial fansCh. 8

Week 6

10-2Terrestrial sedimentary environments II - riversCh. 8
10-3Lab V: Sandstone petrography
10-4Terrestrial sedimentary environments III - deltasCh. 8
10-6Terrestrial sedimentary environments IV - deserts and eolianCh. 8

Week 7

10-9Terrestrial sedimentary environments V - glacialCh. 8
10-10Lab VI: Sedimentary Structures
10-11Terrestrial sedimentary environments VI - lacustrineCh. 10
10-13Introducing marine clastic environments - below wave baseCh. 10

Field Trip II

10-14 (Saturday)Field Trip II - Pennsylvania

Week 8

10-13Marine environments II - shorelineCh. 9
10-17Lab VII: Trace and Body Fossils
10-18Marine environments III - Carbonate sediments and chemistryCh. 11
10-20Marine environments IV - Carbonate environmentsCh. 11

Week 9

10-23Marine environments V - Carbonate Diagenesis and dolomiteCh. 12
10-24No Lab this week
10-25Introduction to StratigraphyCh. 15
10-27Concepts in Stratigraphy I - LithostratigraphyCh. 15

Week 10

10-30Concepts in Stratigraphy II - Sequence stratigraphy Ch. 17
10-31Lab VIII: Carbonate petrography and sedimentary facies
11-1Catch-up and intro to BiostratigraphyCh. 16
11-3Midterm exam II

Field Trip III - Overnight!

11-4 through 11-5Field Trip III - West Virginia and Virginia Ch. 17

Week 11

11-6Concepts in Stratigraphy III - BiostratigraphyCh. 16
11-6Last day to withdraw with a W
11-7Lab IX: Evaporite Petrography
11-8Concepts in Stratigraphy IV - Well logging Ch. 17
11-10Concepts in Stratigraphy V - Seismic Ch. 17

Week 12

11-13Concepts in Stratigraphy VI - ChemostratigraphyCh. 17
11-14Lab X: Stratigraphy and Correlation
11-15Concepts in Stratigraphy VII - MagnetostratigraphyCh. 17
11-17Concepts in Stratigraphy VII - Chronostratigraphy - Geologic Time revisitedCh. 17

Week 13

11-20Concepts in Stratigraphy VII - Chronostratigraphy II Ch. 18
11-21Lab XI: Shaw Diagrams
11-22 through 11/24Thanksgiving RecessCh. 18

Week 14

11-27Diagenesis Ch. 8
11-28Lab III: Pipette analysis
11-29Basin analysis

Ch. 19
12-1Tectonics and sedimentation

Ch. 19

Week 15

12-4Tectonics and sedimentation

Ch. 19

12-8No class - Go to GEOL393/394 presentations!

Week 16

12-11Final project presentations

Ch. 19

Finals Week

12-14-2017, 1:30 - 3:30 AM Final Examination

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