Geology 105

GEOL 105

Catalog Entry

GEOL 105. Exploring Earth
Three hours lecture; two hours laboratory (4).

Prerequisite: none

Develops understanding of physical aspects of the science of geology, including study of the earth's materials, processes and structure. GEOL 105 will satisfy half the general education laboratory science requirement. Students who have earned credit for GEOL 101 may not also earn credit for GEOL 105. General Education credit – Physical and Natural Sciences.


Detailed Description of Content of the Course

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an overview and knowledge base of physical geology which is that aspect of geology that deals with the minerals, rocks, magmas, and other materials that make up the earth as well as the processes and forces that have wrought changes on the morphology of the earth. Topics addressed in this course include, but are not limited to:

1. Matter and minerals
2. Igneous rocks
3. Sedimentary rocks
4. Metamorphic rocks
5. Geologic time
6. Weathering and soils
7. Mass movement
8. Running water
9. Underground water
10. Glaciers
11. Wind and deserts
12. The oceans
13. Structural geology and mountain building
14. The earth's magnetic field
15. Earthquakes and the earth's interior
16. Plate tectonics

The laboratory portion of this course is designed to supplement and complement the lecture portion of this course by giving students practical experience in the application of the knowledge base they gained in lecture by exercises in identifying minerals and rocks as well as reading and interpreting topographic and geologic maps. In addition to in-class exercises, field trips may be taken. The content of the laboratory portion of the course is as follows:

1. Mineral identification
2. Igneous rock identification
3. Sedimentary rock identification
4. Metamorphic rock identification
5. Relative ages of rocks
6. Introduction to topographic maps and aerial photographs
7. A number of exercises in which the students use topographic maps to examine geologic processes or agents, such as

a. Streams
b. Groundwater
c. Wind
d. Glaciers
e. Shorelines

8. Structural geology and geologic maps


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Lectures, demonstrations, audio/video presentations, classroom discussions, laboratory exercises and reading assignments will be used.


Goals and Objectives of Course

1. Students will become acquainted with the scientific method as it applies to geology.
2. Students will gain a basic knowledge of both the materials comprising the earth and the structure of the earth.
3. Students will develop an in-depth knowledge of the physical and chemical processes acting on and in the earth.
4. Students will demonstrate skills in identifying earth materials and reading and interpreting topographic and geologic maps.
5. Students will apply the knowledge gained in lecture to real and practical problems in the laboratory.
6. Geology majors will obtain the background knowledge they will need for their upper level geology courses.


Assessment Measures

Lecture exams, pop quizzes, and a final examination will be used to assess the students' knowledge of geologic materials and processes. Laboratory exercises and practical exams will be used to assess the students' performance in recognizing earth materials, topographic features, and geologic structures, and in analyzing geologic conditions.


Other Course Information

GEOL 105 is a required course for a major and minor in geology. GEOL 105 partially fulfills the general education requirement in laboratory science.


  • AGI/NAGT, 2006, Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology (7th edition), Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 320 p.
  • Bloom, Arthur L., 1978, Geomorphology, Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 510 p.
  • Duxbury, Alyn C. and Duxbury, Alison B., 1989, An Introduction to the World's Oceans (2nd edition), Wm C. Brown Publishers, Dubuque, Iowa, 408 p.
  • Hamblin, W. Kenneth, 1992, Earth's Dynamic Systems (6th edition), Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, NY, 647 p.
  • Hatcher, Robert D., Jr., 1990, Structural Geology, Merrill Publishing Company, Columbus, Ohio, 531 p.
  • Klein, Cornelius and Hurlburt, Jr., Cornelius S., 1985, Manual of Mineralogy, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, NY, 596 p.
  • Levin, Harold L., 1991, The Earth Through Time (4th edition), Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia, PA, 649 p.
  • Press, Frank and Siever, Raymond, 1986, Earth, W. H. Freeman and Company, New York, NY, 656 p.
  • Smith, David G. (ed.), 1981, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences, Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, NY, 496 p.
  • Tarbuck, Edward J., Lutgens, Frederick, K., and Tasa, Dennis, 2005, Earth An Introduction to Physical Geology, (8 th edition), Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 736. p.


Approval and Subsequent Reviews

Date Action Reviewed By
September 2005 Reviewed and updated Dr. Stephen Lenhart, Chair