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GEOL 102 Historical Geology

Spring Semester 2021



The Oligocene Brule Formation strata of Badlands National Park, South Dakota

CLASS SCHEDULE & LECTURE NOTES

(Specific days are listed for due dates of assignments and for synchronous meetings. Lab meetings are 2-5 pm Eastern; the other two Zoom meetings are 9-9:50 am Eastern)


Week of Jan. 25
1/25 Zoom Meeting (9 am Eastern): Introduction to the Course
1/27 Zoom Lab: Introduction to the Lab
1/29: Pre-Course Knowledge Survey due on ELMS
Lecture: Introduction: It's About Time
Lecture: Every Rock is a Record of History: Historical Approaches to Lithology
Lecture: Terrestrial Sedimentary Environments
Readings: Chaps. 1, 2, 5

Week of Feb. 1
2/3 Zoom Lab: Sedimentary Rock Classification
2/5 Quiz 1 due
Lecture: Fluvial & Deltaic Environments & Walther's Law
Lecture: Coastal and Marine Environments; Transgressions and Regressions
Lecture: Physical Stratigraphy
Readings: Chaps. 5, 6

Week of Feb. 8
2/10 Zoom Lab: Sedimentary Structures & Depositional Environments
2/12 Quiz 2 due
Lecture: Index Fossils, Correlation & Radiometric Dating
Lecture: Lithostratigraphy
Lecture: Biostratigraphy and the Geologic Timescale
Reading: Chap. 6

Week of Feb. 15
2/17 Zoom Lab: The Ordering of Geological Events
2/19 Quiz 3 due
Lecture: Another Geography: Plate Tectonics
Lecture: Every Valley Shall Be Exalted...: Orogenesis I
Lecture: ...And Every Mountain and Hill Made Low: Orogenesis II and Geochemical Cycles
Readings: Chaps. 8, 9, 10

Week of Feb. 22
2/24 Zoom Lab: Biostratigraphy, Geochronology, Magnetostratigraphy
2/26 Quiz 4 due
Lecture: Fossils & Fossilization
Lecture: Evolution I: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection
Lecture: Evolution II: Patterns, Process & Phylogeny
Readings: Chaps. 3, 4, 7

Week of Mar. 1
MIDTERM EXAM I: Available online 3/1-3
3/3 Zoom Lab: Physical Stratigraphy
Lecture: Introduction to the Strange Aeons of the Precambrian: The Hadean Eon
Lecture: The Archean Eon I: Black Earth, Blue Earth, Grey Earth
Lecture: The Archean Eon II: Biogenesis
Readings: Chap. 11

Week of Mar. 8
3/10 Zoom Lab: Introduction to Paleontology: Fossils and Fossilization
3/12 Quiz 5 due
Lecture: The Proterozoic Eon I: Birth of Modern Geology
Lecture: The Proterozoic Eon II: Rodinia and Pannotia
Lecture: The Proterozoic Eon III: Snowball Earth & the Garden of Ediacara
Readings: Chap. 12

Week of Mar. 15
SPRING BREAK, PANDEMIC-STYLE! (Use your break to relax, but stay safe and healthy!)

Week of Mar. 22
3/24 Zoom Lab: Common Fossilizing Organisms
3/26 Quiz 6 due
Lecture: The Early Paleozoic Era I
Lecture: The Early Paleozoic Era II
Lecture: The Middle Paleozoic Era I
Readings: Chaps. 13, 14

Week of Mar. 29
3/31 Zoom Lab: Geologic Map Interpretation
4/2 Quiz 7 due
Lecture: The Middle Paleozoic Era II
Lecture: The Middle Paleozoic Era III
Lecture: The Late Paleozoic Era I
Readings: Chaps. 14, 15

Week of Apr. 5
4/7 Zoom Lab: Precambrian Geology
4/9 Quiz 8 due
Lecture: The Late Paleozoic Era II
Lecture: The Late Paleozoic Era III
Lecture: The Late Paleozoic Era IV
Readings: Chap. 15

Week of Apr. 12
MIDTERM EXAM II: Available online 4/12-14
4/14 Zoom Lab: Appalachian & Other Paleozoic Geology
Lecture: The Early Mesozoic Era I
Lecture: The Early Mesozoic Era II
Lecture: The Early Mesozoic Era III
Readings: Chap. 16

Week of Apr. 19
4/21 Zoom Lab: Cordilleran Geology
4/23 Quiz 9 due
Lecture: The Cretaceous Period I
Lecture: The Cretaceous Period II
Lecture: The Cretaceous Period III
Readings: Chap. 17

Week of Apr. 26
4/28 Zoom Lab: Post-Paleozoic Geology
4/30 Quiz 10 due
Lecture: The Paleogene Period I
Lecture: The Paleogene Period II
Lecture: The Neogene Period I
Readings: Chaps. 18, 19

Week of May 3
5/5 Zoom Lab: Quaternary Geology and Climate Change
5/7 Quiz 11 due
Lecture: The Neogene Period II
Lecture: The Quaternary Period I
Lecture: The Quaternary Period II: To the Anthropocene and Beyond!
Readings: Chaps. 19, 20

Week of May 10
5/10 Zoom Meeting (9 am Eastern): Course Summary
Lecture: Historical Geology Tour of North America

Week of May 17
FINAL EXAM: Available online 5/16-18

For a formatted printable copy of the complete syllabus, click here.

Last modified: 19 January 2021

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Proterozoic granite weathering into sediment in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming