GEOL 102 Historical Geology

Spring Semester 2021

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


(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

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