GY111 Syllabus – Physical Geology (Introductory Geology) 
Dr. David Allison

 

I. Course

 

GY 111 Physical Geology

 

 

II. Catalog Description

 

(3 Hour credit) Materials that make up the Earth as well as the properties and geological processes that operates in the Earth. Special topics include plate tectonics, mineral chemistry, the rock cycle, sedimentary processes, metamorphism and geological map reading. Fee. Geology Core Course. Corequisite: GY 111L.

 

 

III. Course Objectives

 

The subject matter examined in the course covers the basics of physical geology and the objectives of the course are to provide students with a general understanding of this discipline. The course will focus on the chemistry and properties of minerals, the composition of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks and some of the earth processes responsible for rock and mineral formation. Specific topics covered are itemized below. You are expected to keep up with the reading prescribed for each week. GY 111 is the first of 2 introductory courses in geology and requires no prerequisites.

 

 

IV. Course Topics

 

The following chapters will be covered during the semester:

 

WEEK 1:

PLANET EARTH & PLATE ECTONICS (Chapters 1 & 2)
Lect 1: Introduction, course structure; Geocareers
Lect 2:  The Solar System, Planets
Lect 3: Plate Tectonics

Lab: Introduction to Mineral Physical Properties

 

 

WEEK 2: 

MINERALS & ROCKS (Chapter 3)
Lect 1: More Plate Tectonics
Lect 2: Mineral Chemistry and physical properties
Lect 3: The Rock Cycle

Lab: Demonstration of Mineral Specimens

 

 

WEEK 3:

IGNEOUS ROCKS (Chapter 4)
Lect 1: Types of Rocks
Lect 2: Intrusive and  Extrusive igneous rocks
Lect3: Igneous textures, Plate Tectonics and Igneous processes

Lab: Classification of mineral specimens; mineral quiz

 

 

WEEK 4:

IGNEOUS  ROCKS cont. (Chapters 4,12)
Lect 1: Bowen's Reaction Series
Lect 2: Volcanic eruptions
Lect 3: Volcanic textures

Lab: Mineral Test

 

 

WEEK 5:

IGNEOUS ROCKS (Chapters 4,12)
Lect 1: Volcanic Landforms
Lect 2: Plate Tectonics and Volcanic eruptions; Volcanic hazards to man
Lect 3: Lecture Test 1

Lab: Introduction to Igneous Rock Classification

 

 

WEEK 6:

WEATHERING, EROSION, AND  SOILS (Chapter 16)
Lect 1: Weathering and erosion 
Lect 2: Soil development
Lect 3: Soil Types and Classification

Lab: Demonstration of Igneous Rock specimens

 

 

WEEK 7:

SEDIMENTATION & SEDIMENTARY ROCKS (Chapter 5)
Lect 1: Terrestrial environments 1: alluvial fans and rivers
Lect 2: Terrestrial environments 2: rivers and deltas
Lect 3: Fluvial Processes video

Lab: Classification of Igneous Rocks; Igneous quiz

 

 

WEEK 8: 

METAMORPHISM (Chapter  6)
Lect 1: Lithification
Lect 2: Metamorphism: Definition and Causes, Types
Lect 3: Types of metamorphism

Lab: Igneous Rock Test

 

 

WEEK 9:

METAMORPHISM cont. (Chapter  6)
Lect 1: Regional metamorphism
Lect 2: More regional metamorphism

Lect 3: Contact Metamorphism, Geologic Time

Lab: Intoduction to Sedimentary Rock Classification

 

 

WEEK 10:

METAMORPHISM & GEOLOGICAL TIME (Chapters 6, 8)
Lect 1: Relative Geologic Dating
Lect 2: Geologic time and Unconformities, Cross-cutting relations
Lect 3: Lecture Test 2

LAB: Sedimentary Rock Classification; Sedimentary quiz

 

 

WEEK 11:

DEFORMATION (Chapters 7, 8)
Lect 1: Radiometric Dating; How and why rocks deform
Lect 2: Bedding & attitude (strike and dip)
Lect 3: Folds and Faults

Lab: Sedimentary Rock Test

 

 

WEEK 12:

EARTHQUAKES (Chapter 13)
Lect 1: Earthquakes (possibly a video)
Lect 2: Seismicity
Lect 3: Faults on maps

Lab: Introduction to Metamorphic Rock classification

 

 

WEEK 13:

 EVOLUTION OF THE CONTINENTS   (Chapter 10)
Lect 1:  Craton,  Stable interior, orogenic belts
Lect 2: Appalachian orogenic belt
Lect 3: Cordilleran orogenic belt

Lab: Metamorphic Rock classification; Metamorphic quiz

 

 

WEEK 14:

HUMAN IMPACT ON EARTH'S ENVIRONMENT  (Chapter 23)
Lect 1: Mineral Resources and Reserves
Lect 2: Economic and Environmental Issues
Lect 3: Plate Tectonics and Mineral Resources

Lab: Metamorphic Rock Test

 

 

FINAL EXAM- consult schedule of classes for time and place.

 

 

 

V. Text (Required)

 

LECTURE: Grotzinger, J., Jordan, T., Press, F. and  Siever, R.,  2007, Understanding Earth (5th ed.), W.H. Freeman and Co.,  New York, ISBN 0-7167-6682-5

 

 

VI. Procedures for Assessing Student Performance

 

 

 

Grade Calculation Percentages:

 

Attendance   10%

 

Assignments: 15%

 

Lecture Test 1   25% 

 

Lecture Test 2   25%

 

Final Exam   25% (see schedule of classes for date, time and room #)

 

Grading: A=90+, B=89-80, C=79-70, D=69-60, F= <60

 

 

 

Changes in Course Requirements:

 

Since all classes do not progress at the same rate, the instructor may wish to modify the above requirements or their timing as circumstances dictate. For example, the instructor may wish to change the number and frequency of exams, or the number and sequence of assignments. Students will be given adequate notification of such changes. Although course requirements may be modified, they will still preserve the original course objectives and spirit.

 

 

 

Missed exams\ lateness penalty\attendance

 

The reason for producing a syllabus is to give students advanced notice of exams and assignment due dates. Translation: there is no excuse for turning in lab assignments late. You will receive a "0" if you do not turn in your lab assignment by the due date. If you have a legitimate excuse for missing an exam (i.e. medical problem), you will be permitted to complete a make-up during the last week of classes provided that you show me a signed certificate from a physician stating that it was impossible for you to make the exam. The make up exam will consist of essay questions.

 

Attendance of course lecture and laboratory meetings is required. Attendance will be taken by the instructor with a seating chart at the beginning of class. If you are late and miss the seating chart roll you will be counted absent. Please sit in the same location after the 1st week of class. I will keep track of your attendance as a percentage of possible days in attendance. For example, if a MWF class meets a total of 45 times, and you missed 8 classes according to the seating chart roll your attendance score will be (45-8)/45*100=82%. I will not take attendance during the 1st week of class.

 

 

 

Classroom/Laboratory Rules and Etiquette

 

  1. No active Laptop/Cell phone/Calculator computers are allowed during lectures. Notes are to be taken with pen and paper.
  2. No food is to be consumed during lecture or labs. No disposable drink containers are allowed- liquids must be contained in spill-proof containers.
  3. Door code combinations are to be shared only among current students. Do not give access codes to students not enrolled in the current class.
  4. Department computer resources are to be used only by Earth Science majors for class assignments. Do not give out computer passwords to non-majors.
  5. Do not use the faculty podium computers in classrooms unless specifically cleared by your instructor.
  6. If food/drink is consumed in the classroom during off hours please dispose of the trash in trash cans.
  7. If you remove lab specimens from the classroom please return them to their proper place.

VII. Instructor for Course & Policies

 

Instructor: David Allison
Office: Room 344 LSB
Office Hours: will be posted on office door

 

 

 

Missed exams\ lateness penalty\attendance:

 

The reason for producing a syllabus is to give students advanced notice of exams and assignment due dates. Translation: there is no excuse for turning assignments in late. As such you will receive an "0" if you do not turn in your assignment by the due date. If you have a legitimate excuse for missing an exam (i.e. medical problem), you will be permitted to complete a make-up during the last week of classes provided that you show me a signed certificate from a physician stating that it was impossible for you to make the exam. The make up exam will consist of essay questions.

Attendance of course lecture meetings is required. Attendance will be taken in lecture by a sign-in sheet passed around class at the beginning of lectures. You are allowed a week of absences during the semester (3 for MWF, 2 for TTh), after that threshold I keep track of your attendance as a percentage of possible meetings (i.e. if attendance is 10% of final grade and you attend 25 of 30 possible meetings you would loose 10 - 25/30*10 = 2 points on your final grade).  

 

 

 

Honor Policy:

 

Plagiarism and cheating are not permitted in this class. In fact, either of them will result in severe embarrassment to you and quite possibly an "0" for the assignment or exam in question if you are caught in the act. If you are unsure of what constitutes plagiarism or cheating, speak to me about it. This policy is the same as in the USA student handbook and bulletin, consult them for more information regarding the honor policy at USA

 

 

 

Disability Policy:

 

The University of South Alabama provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities.  In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, students with bona fide disabilities will be afforded reasonable accommodation. The Office of Special Student Services will certify a disability and advise faculty members of reasonable accommodations. If you have a specific disability that qualifies you for academic accommodations, please notify me and provide certification from Disability Services (Office of Special Student Services). The Office of Special Student Services is directed by Ms. Andrea Agnew and is located in the Student Center, room 270. The phone number is (251) 460-7212.

 

 

 

Computer Access Policy

 

Students are required to have access to a computer with certain minimum capabilities such as internet access. Internet access will be used to access assignments and other course materials. This is a university requirement for all students- for more information on this policy please refer to the USA Bulletin. 

 

 

VIII. Bibliography

 

Grotzinger, J., Jordan, T., Press, F. and  Siever, R.,  2007, Understanding Earth (5th ed.), W.H. Freeman and Co.,  New York, ISBN 0-7167-6682-5

 

 

dallison@jaguar1.usouthal.edu
David Allison Home Page
USA Undergraduate Bulletin
University of South Alabama