Geology and the Environment :
Internal Earth Processes

Geology 1043

Course Schedule | Course Objectives | Learning Outcomes | Marking Scheme

Instructor: Dr. Nancy Van Wagoner
Office: Huggins Science Hall, room 305
Perry House, 42 University Avenue
Phone: 585-1590
Fax: 585-1068
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 1:00 to 2:30, and by appointment.
Class meets: Tuesday and Thursday, 3:00-4:30 PM
Location: HSH 10

Information Resources:
Required text:
Geology and the Environment, 2nd Edition, by B. W. Pipkin and D. D. Trent

Supplementary Resource:

Virtual Atlas (
3-ring binder
As well as assigned articles, websites, and videos

Optional text:
Earth Science and the Enviroment, by Thompson and Turk
Geology is the study of Earth.
Environmental Geology focuses on the relationship between humans and their Earth environment. It is the study of human interaction with the land, with all its sociological, economic and political ramifications.(1)
This course concentrates on the relationship between people and internal Earth processes such as, earthquakes and volcanoes, geologic structures, plate tectonics, the evolution of mountains and ocean basins, the concept of geologic time, rocks, minerals, and mineral resources.

Course Schedule
Text Reading
Sept. 10  Unit 1: Introduction to the Course Chap. 1: Environmental Geology and Human Existence I. Maps

Due Sept. 17
Sept. 15, 17 Unit 2: Origin of Earth, Earth in Space and Time, Earth Systems, and Earth's Interior p. 22-26; 43-48 II. Earth in Space and Time

Due: Sept. 22

Solar System
Rosa Parks
Martin Luther
Galileo Project
Kepler's Law
Kepler's 2nd Law
Kepler's Third Law
Universe and Space
Sept. 22, 24 Unit 3: Earth Composition: From Atoms to Minerals
Where does toothpaste come from?
The Periodic Table
Will Asbestos kill me?
p. 26-30
Chapter 14: Mineral Resources and Society
III. Mineral Identification and Mineral Resources

Due Sept. 29

Earth's Interior

Sept. 29

Oct. 1

Unit 4: Rocks and the rock cycle p. 31-40 IV. Common Rocks

Due Oct. 6




The Rock Cycle

Oct. 6, 8 Unit 5: Plate Tectonics Chapter 3 V. Plate Tectonics 1

Plate Boundaries

Polar Reversal and Sea Floor Spreading

Plate Motion

Historical Perspective

Plate Tectonics

Plate Motion


Oct 13, 15 Unit 6: Plate Tectonics and Earth Structures   VI. Plate Tectonics 2  
Oct. 20 Review      
Oct. 22     Test 1 Units 1 - 6  
October 27, 29 Unit 7: Earthquakes   VII. Earthquakes and Earth's Interior

Due November 10




Earthquake Watch Site

Nov. 3, 5 Unit 8: Earthquake Prediction, Preparation, and Associated Hazards p. 70-108   Hazards



Nov. 10, 12 Unit 9: Volcanoes: Igneous rocks and getting rocks to melt p.118-132 VIII. Volcanoes

Due Nov. 26

Hot Spots 

Terrestrial Volcanoes 

Slide Show of Mount. St. Helens

Cascades Volcano Observatory-Index

Volcano Watch Site

Nov. 17, 19 Unit 10 (cont): Volcanoes, types of volcanoes, volcano hazards, prediction, and preparation p.132-148   Hazards 

Living with Volcanoes 

Nov. 24     Test 2
Units 1-10
Nov. 26 Geologic Maps   IX. Geologic Maps and Relative Dating

Due Dec 3

Dec. 1, 3 Geophysics: A tool used in environmental studies   X. Geophysics simulation

Due Dec. 3


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Geology 1043/63

Objectives and Learning Outcomes


1. To give you the tools to become a better steward of Earth, and a more constructive manager of the land and its population.
2. To be educated enough to know the right questions to ask when faced with environmental issues.
3. To learn to access information and tell the difference between reliable and unreliable information.
4. To depict the role of Geologists in today's society.
5. To present knowledge that will be useful for life, whether forming opinions on environmental issues, selecting a home site or other property, evaluating a business, or appreciating and understanding your surroundings.
6. To sharpen your observational skills and expand your horizons by introducing you to the complexities of geologic systems and processes, and developing your ability to "see" in three dimensions.
7. To prepare you to consider many environmental issues facing society, such as resource utilization, water use and conservation, and land-use planning.

Learning Outcomes

1. A perspective of Earth in the Universe and the Solar System.
2. A knowledge of the structure and composition of Earth from the inside out.
3. Understanding of the terrestrial foundation on which societies are built.
4. A general understanding of Earth systems, processes, and the multivariate character of nature.
5. An understanding of the vastness of geologic time, and the varying rates of geologic processes.
6. An understanding of the range of scales of geologic problems, from the global to the microscopic.
7. Appreciation that Earth resources are limited and Earth has a limited capacity to sustain life.
8. A better appreciation of Earth's beauty.

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Marking Scheme
My Score
I. Maps
II. The Earth in Space and Time
III. Mineral Identification and Mineral Resources
IV. Common Rocks
V. Plate Tectonics 1
VI. Plate Tectonics 2
VII. Earthquakes and Earth's Interior
VIII. Volcanoes
IX. Geologic Maps and Relative Dating
X. Geophysics simulation
Class Participation
Test 1
Test 2

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A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step 

(1) Bernard W Pipkin, Geology And The Environment, Second Edition.West/Wadsworth:1997.pg1.

Question?? Email Dr. Van Wagoner


Copyright 1998 Dr. Nancy VanWagoner
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webmaster: Kevin. Deveau
last updated: Nov.1998