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Geology 101

 Instructor:
 Instructor:
Prof. Jack
Jack D.
D. Farmer
jfarmer@asu.edu PSF-550
PSF-550 965-6748
Office hours:
hours: MWF
MWF 33 pm-4
pm-4 pm
 TA:
 TA:
Aurora Hinckley
(480) 965-5175
email: Aurora.Hinckley@asu.edu
Office &
& hours:
hours: Please
Please announce
announce in
in class

 Website:
 Website:
Today: Course Overview

 Why are we here?

 A few ground rules…
 Stuff about me.
 Tools for succeeding in Geology 101.
 Course exams & grading.
 Overarching goals for this course.
 Prelude: What is Geology?


Note: NO “www”!!!
GROUND RULES  Read the textbook
- Cover-to-cover, see Syllabus on Web page
for weekly assignments

 Attend lectures
- Hear topical overviews & ask questions
- Do in-class assignments & turn in & pick up HW
- Exams, quizzes & extra credit opportunities

 In-class quizzes
- ~ Seven quizzes, each given after we complete a major
- Will be announced the class before

 In-class exercises and homework assignments

- Exercises weekly & homework every other week
GROUND RULES Required by all students:

While in lecture, please DO NOT:

 Forget to turn off cell phones

 Read and rustle newspapers

 Talk and have conversations

 Sleep uncontrollably, endangering

yourself and others

 Break ASU rules/laws (e.g. Don’t cheat,

smoke, chew tobacco, spit., etc.)
GROUND RULES Required by all students:

While in the lecture, please DO:

 Ask questions when anything is not clear

 Engage in the discussions

 Fully participate in in-class exercises

Geology is great! Have fun with it!

WHY YOU ARE HERE Top Five Reasons:
You absolutely LOVE geology

You need a science credit to graduate & think

geology is easier than physics &/or need it
NOW to graduate (We feel your pain)

Just curious, it seemed like it might be cool

There was an ASU registrar computer glitch

(Again, we feel your pain)

You have absolutely no idea

 I’m an ASU Professor in the Dept. of
Geological Sciences and a geobiologist by
training and inclination. I teach 2-3
classes/year & conduct research in geobiology,
with applications to planetary exploration.

 I am Director of ASU’s Astrobiology Program

 I love interacting with students and thrive on
field work.
I am actively involved with exploring the
planet Mars and am a member of quite a few
NASA advisory committees as well as the Mars
Exploration Rover team, a mission that will
launch to Mars this June.
 I teach GLG101 every 3-4 years, and in
between, other courses having to do with
geobiology, sedimentary processes and
Ah! Mars….
Geology 101 Learning Tools:
1. Book - Earth: Portrait of a Planet-Stephen Marshak
- An excellent, up to date review of field
- Nicely-illustrated with good study aids
2. How to study
- Read the chapters before lectures
- Review class presentations afterwards:
- Course website: http://
- Ask questions in class
- Check for terms in glossary given at end of text
- Science Toolbox sections develop specific concepts
- Interlude sections introduce larger topics
- Study guide
Use the book’s Website to:
- Reinforce concepts
- Check knowledge by taking sample quizzes
- See Geology in the news
Use the Portrait of a Planet CDROM
- Useful visualization tools
Geology 101 Learning Tools:
3. Meet with your Instructor and TA!
- During office hours
- Or, make an appointment
(see class handout for times and places)
- Use email!

4. Connect to Geology on a personal level

and try to apply what you are learning.
- Think about how the concepts you are learning
apply in your everyday life as you walk around
on planet Earth!
PRELUDE: What is Geology?

Our book’s chapters &

1. Cosmology & Birth of the Earth
course organization 2. Journey to the Center of the Earth
3. Drifting continents and spreading seas
4. The way the Earth works: Plate tectonics
5. Patterns in nature: Minerals
INTERLUDE A: Rock groups
6. Up from the inferno: Magma and igneous
7. A surface veneer: Sedimentary rocks
8. Change in the solid state: Metamorphic
INTERLUDE B: The rock cycle
Midterm I (February 28)

Our book’s chapters &

9. The wrath of Vulcan: Volcanic eruptions
course organization 10. The violent pulse: Earthquakes
INTERLUDE C: Seeing inside the Earth
11. Cracks, crags and crumples: Crustal
deformation and mountain building
INTERLUDE D: Memories of past life: Fossils
and Evolution
12. Deep time: How old is old?
13. A biography of the Earth
14. Squeezing power from a stone: Energy
15. Riches in rocks: Mineral resources
Midterm 2 (April 7)

Our book’s chapters &

INTERLUDE E: Ever changing landscapes and

course organization
the hydrologic cycle
16. Unsafe ground: Landslides and other mass
17. Streams and floods: The geology od
running water
18. Restless realm: Oceans and coasts
19. Hidden reserve: Groundwater
20. An envelope of gas: Earth’s atmosphere
and climate
21. Dry regions: The deserts of the world
22. Amazing ice: Glaciers and ice ages
23. Global change in the Earth system
Final Exam (May 14, 2:40PM -4:30 PM)
Geology 101 Exams:
1. There will be three Exams.
-In class, 1-hour, 100 points each
-One for each major section of course
-See web page for more information

2. Review outline
-Will be handed out before exams
-Will provide a list of topics that will be covered

3. Final Exam
-Covers last section of course, but all exams
may call on basic concepts presented earlier.

4. In class quizzes
- Multiple choice, matching
- 10-15 minutes, 10-15 points
There are none! Exceptions include a health problem or
ASU sanctioned event, which will require written
confirmation from your doctor or a presiding ASU official.
Make-ups under these exceptions will be 1-hour oral


 You can substitute a 12-page term paper for one of the
exams, provided it is on a topic drawn from the content
for that part of the course. This must be arranged ahead
of time and the topic must be approved by the instructor.
The term paper will be due the day of the exam for which
it is being substituted. You will still be responsible for any
major topical areas that are covered from that part of the
course on subsequent exams.
EXAMS & GRADING Extra credit opportunities
4 ways to pick up extra credit points
(see web page for details)

1. Optional field trip to Papago Park

Two dates: (1) Tuesday, April 15 &
(2) Thursday, April 24
2. Geology in the news
Email me a short blurb drawn from geology in the
news during the week presented. Be prepared to
stand up and give a 2-3 minute summary to the class.

3. Geology songs/poems
Write a rap/poem/song that conveys geologic concepts
for that part of course
4. In-class demos
Devise a practical in-class demo for a specific topic

 ASU Course catalog says:

GLG 101 Introduction to Geology I (Physical).

Basic principles of geology, geochemistry, and
geophysics. Rocks, minerals, weathering,
earthquakes, mountain building, volcanoes, water,
and glaciers.
 But also, we have these goals:

To develop critical thinking skills & a basic

understanding of how the science works

 Become familiar with some of the observational

methods, reasoning processes and analytical tools
used by geologists to understand the Earth and its

Learn the basic scientific concepts and principles-

essentially the current paradigm for how the Earth
and its systems interact to produce what we see.
You will be learning a new language!

Geology is a broad, interdisciplinary science with

a rich vocabulary. The terminology we will use
throughout this course will require that you learn a
new language.

We will all work together to find ways to become

familiar with this vocabulary and the ideas it is
designed to convey. But more is needed than
simply memorizing terms. You also need to develop
an understanding of the conceptual framework that
the terminology is a part of, and how the words
and concepts relate to each other.
Application of this new knowledge:

 Enrich your understanding of the planet we

depend upon for our survival.

 Broaden your perspective of the relationship

between humans & their environment.

 Become as more responsible citizen and make

smart investments in your future, and the future
of your children.

 Maybe you will decide to become one of the

true, the proud and the brave and go on to major
in geology!
Lecture style designed to address the
fact that different people learn
 Seeing/visual learning

 Reading the written word

 Hearing about it

 Engaging through personal inquiry and


 Connecting what we learn in the

classroom to what is out there!
What methods will we need to
succeed in geology?

 An innate curiosity and willingness to ask questions

 Good observational skills to recognize basic patterns

and spatial relationships

 A systematic approach to documenting, analyzing,

and predicting observations

 An ability to visualize in 3-dimensional space, while

integrating the 4th dimension, time.

 Willingness to learn and apply basic scientific

principles from other sciences (physics, chemistry, math)

Geology deals with complex historical systems that

have evolved and changed over time.

Time is thus a fundamental variable in geology.

Coupled processes, operating over time produce all

that we see.
And just what is Geology?
Geology: The study of the Earth and its systems

You are here!

Prelude: Box P-1 Science Toolbox Text
pages 9-10

Nature of scientific inquiry

Basic Concepts:
 Scientific method
 Hypothesis
 Test
 Scientific “certainty”
 Paradigms and the nature of
scientific revolutions
 Theory
Nature of scientific inquiry

Science is based on:

assumption that the natural world behaves in

a consistent & predictable manner

Goals of science:

understand underlying patterns in nature

(from careful observations/measurements)
form hypotheses that lead to predictions
Nature of scientific inquiry

Scientific method

gathering information through careful observation

to formulate hypotheses and theories

note: involves insight and creativity to break free

from conditioned accepted views
Nature of scientific inquiry

Four basic steps:

1) collect the facts (observation/measurement)

2) develop hypothesis (one or more)

3) test hypothesis

4) accept/modify/reject
Nature of scientific inquiry

Process begins with Observation!

Formulation of Hypotheses:
Construction of a tentative (untested) explanation
for something observed
Value of multiple working hypotheses
Testing hypotheses
Evaluate explanatory power.
Certainty in science and the nature of scientific proof
Science has been described as the orderly accumulation
of rejected hypotheses.
Nature of scientific inquiry


- well-tested/widely accepted hypothesis that

“acceptably” predicts observed facts.

- also: explains additional observations not used

originally to form theory

- predictive power

- still testable and subject to disproof!

Geology: The study of the Earth and its systems

You are here!

Prelude: Earth Systems

 Atmosphere

 Hydrosphere

 Cryosphere

 Solid Earth

 Biosphere
Blanket of gases surrounding the Earth

 Protection from Sun’s heat & UV rays

 Weather: due to exchange of energy

between Earth’s surface & atmosph.
between atmosph. & outer space

 Strongly interacts w/ surface

Water portion of Earth

 Oceans (most prominent)

 71% of surface of Earth

 Streams, lakes, glaciers, underground water

 Atmosphere
Icy portion of Earth’s crust

 Glaciers

 Permafrost and ground ice

 Polar ice caps

 Frozen polar seas

Earth’s Ecosystems

 Earth’s surface and subsurface to depths of a few


 Life occupies an extreme range of environments

 Life strongly interacts with the atmosphere, the

hydrosphere and the solid earth (these interactions
are called ecology!)
Prelude: Earth’s internal structure

3 distinct divisions:

crust Oceanic 0-6 km (“young”, < 180 m.y.)

Continental 0-34 km (older, up to 3.8 b.y.)

mantle Upper 34-670 km

Lower 670-2900 km

Outer (liquid) 2900-5160 km

core Inner (solid) 5160-6370 km
Solid Earth Interior of the
Earth is losing
Primary source
of heat:
Radioactive decay
Heat loss drives
convection, based
on density
Hotter stuff is
lighter and rises
Cooler stuff is
denser and sinks.
Prelude: Plate Tectonics

Earth’s dynamic interior and crust

 Heat loss drives plate tectonics
Three types of plate boundaries