Geology 1 Lectures

Note: more information, lecture notes and exam practice questions, can be found in the Geology 1 Green Study Guide


Geology 1 Lectures
textbook chapters refer to 'Earth', 8th edition, by Tarbuck and Lutgens
Lecture order below from Spring 2006

'Intro to Geology and the Earth' (Ch 1)

'Plate Tectonics' (Ch 2, 12 & 13)
What is Plate Tectonics?
        Evidence for Pangea; in the order the evidence was discovered
        Continental Drift
        Exploring the Ocean
            the MOR
            Magnetic Stripes, the Earth's Magnetic Field
             and geomagnetic reversals
           1968 DSDP
        Sea Floor Spreading?

        Continental Drift + Sea Floor Spreading ==> Plate Tectonics!
        Plate Tectonics is global recycling
        Types of Plate Edges/Margins

        The geology at each type of plate edge: cross-sections
        Locations of Earthquakes and Volcanoes
        Hot Spots
Determining Plate Edges
        Hot Spots
        Plate Speeds
        Plate Tectonics... Fact or Theory?

        What causes the plates to move?
        Supercontinents and the history of Pangea
        Constructing a Geologic Cross-section across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans

An Introduction to Rocks and Minerals (Ch. 1 & 3)
   The Three Basic Rock Types
        The Rock Cycle
        What is a mineral?

   How Do Minerals Form?
crystal growth demo + CD-ROM animations
        Where Do Minerals Form? (Ch. 21)
             examples: gold, diamond, etc.

Igneous Rocks (Ch. 4)
Volcanoes (Ch. 5)
Types of Volcanoes
              Mafic Volcano features and formations
+slides and powerpoint
             shield volcanoes, calderas, 
             pahoehoe, aa lava
             volcanic necks, hexagonal basalts,
             lava tubes, flood basalts, etc.
             Shiprock, Devil's Tower, etc.
             Pillow Basalts (Ch. 13)
video: Fire Under The Sea 
Sialic/Felsic Volcano features and formations
+slides, video clips and powerpoint
             composite (stratovolcanoes)
             volcanic ash, pyroclastic flows,
             lahars, volcanic lightning
             Mt. St. Helens, Crater Lake, etc.
         Cinder Cones
             Paricutin, Mexico
         Plug Domes; ex. Mt. Lassen
Film: Volcano: Surtsey 
         Hot Springs, Geysers, Fumaroles, etc. (Ch. 17)
+slides and powerpoint


Sedimentary Rocks and Processes (Ch. 7, 9, 13 & 21)
and Environments of Deposition and Formation
        Types of Sed Rocks
              Clastic (detrital)
                 & Lithification
                        compaction w/o becoming metamorphic
                             typical cements: SiO2, CaCO3

              Chemical (monominerallic)
                       limestone, CaCO3, aragonite
                       gypsum CaSO4
                       'table salt', halite, NaCl
                            black smoker metal sulfides (Ch 13)
                       manganese nodule metal oxides (Ch 7)
                       phosphorous nodules
                       glauconite sands

                          grades/stages of coal
                          environment and formation
                          graphite?  diamond? 
                            coral (Ch 7 & Ch 13)
                                    formation of coral reefs
slides and video clips
            oil and gas (Ch. 21)
                formation of
                location of
                source rock and reservoir rocks
                oil traps
         Types of Coral Reefs (Ch. 13)
                Great Barrier Reef geology
  • An Introduction to Stratigraphy (Ch. 9)
    • Law of Horizontality
    • Law of Superposition
    • Depositional Environments
    • Which Way Is Up?  Which Came First?
      • radiometric age dating
      • sedimentary features
        • graded bedding
        • fossils,
        • mudcracks
        • cross-bedding
    • Geologic Histories and Geologic Cross-sections
      The Present Is The Key To The Past



  • Natural Resources (Ch. 21)
    (Homework topic, often covered in the Geo 9 course, if there is student interest)
    • Renewable vs. non-renewable resources
    • Rock and Mineral Resources
      • Where are minerals found?  formed?

      • ……..everywhere….
        and elements are everywhere… disseminated

      • More useful question:  How are minerals concentrated?
         (so that there is enough in one spot to make it worthwhile)

      • answer: through igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic processes
        heat and pressure often necessary

      • plate tectonics is often a controlling force

      • A couple, typical ores of interest:          

        • Gold

          • placer

        • Diamond

    • Energy Resources
      • Fossil Fuels

        • Coal

        • Oil and gas

          • Source Rock
            usually a shale

          • Reservoir Rock
            typically a sandstone

          • Oil Traps

      • Alternative Energy Resources

        • wind

        • solar

        • nuclear

        • geothermal

        • nuclear

        • hydroelectric

      • Pros and Cons of all possible energy resources

        • Energy efficiency: how much volume necessary for how much heat/energy?

        • Transportability?  How easy/difficult is it to transport the energy?

        • Storage?  How long can it be stored?  How much is lost over time?

        • Environmental impacts of using any energy resource

        • pollution, etc.

        • does the ‘alternative energy resource’ actually rely on petroleum
          for processing or materials?

  • River Systems (Ch. 16)
    • The Hydrologic Cycle
    • General Features of River Systems
    • Drainage Basins & Drainage Patterns
      • what a drainage pattern tells you about the underlying geology
    • Stream Load
    • River Erosion (typically in young rivers)
      • Downcutting

      • abrasion; potholes

      • solution

      • hydraulic action

      • Slope Retreat vs. Slot Canyons

      • Headward Erosion; ex. Niagara Falls

      • What types of rock are most
        flat valley floors made of?

      • What creates the flat valley floors?

      • Do rivers get straighter or
        more sinuous with age?

      • Water Velocity

      • in a straight section of the river

      • river meanders and how rivers move

      • straighter or more crooked?

      • stream piracy

      • Valley Floor sediments;
        creation of flat valley floor

      • V-shaped river valleys
        vs. U-shaped glaciated valleys

      • Grand Canyon

      • cliff-slope topography
        and differential weathering

    • slides

    Flood Plains, river deposition (typically older rivers)
    • flood plain features
    • natural levees
    • backswamps
    • yazoo creeks
    • meanders
      • point bars
      • meander migration
      • oxbow lakes
    • Alluvial Fans
    • Stream Terraces
      • incised or entrenched meanders
    • Water Gaps
    • slides
    • Deltas
    • slides






Glacier Slide Show
(often presented during the Geo 9 Colloquium
 when there is time and interest)

  • Glacial Ice

  • color?

  • difference between a field of snow and a glacier

  • Valley Glaciers

  • “rivers of ice”

  • crevasses

  • horns

  • cirques

  • before and after valley glaciation; e.g., Yosemite

  • hanging valleys

  • moraines

  • till

  • glacial polish

  • striations

  • Continental Glaciers

  • can have/create many of the features listed above (e.g., till, moraines, glacial polish, crevasses)

  • comparing ground that was covered by glaciers to ground that was not

  • erratics

  • drumlins


  • Ice Ages

    • How far did the ice get?

    • How much was covered by ice?

    • How many Ice Ages have there been?

    • What causes Ice Ages?

    • Milankovic Cycles






The following is an outline of the topics covered in the Geo 9 (Homework) class, Spring 2006