Geology 1110: Geology and Earth Systems                                                               Spring 2012

Lecture: M/W/F 2:00 – 2:50 pm, Life Science 175                                                 Lab: Chem 206


Instructor: Dr. Karen Gran                                              Office Hours: M 10-11;W 3-4 or by appt.

726-7406,                                                                                    Heller Hall 217           


Texts (required):       Essentials of Geology, 3rd ed. by Marshak (e-book available on text website) 

                              Laboratory Manual by UMD Geology Department (available at bookstore)

Text Website:

Class Website:     Find it at



Geology is the study of the Earth and the processes that act upon it and within it.  It is far more than just studying rocks!  The Earth is a dynamic system of interactions and feedbacks between rock, water, air, and life, operating over multiple time and spatial scales.  Events that happened billions of years ago can have relevance to society now.  Likewise, because the Earth is continuously changing, actions that we take can affect Earth systems now and into the future.   

Humans play an integral role in Earth systems and our interactions with our planet are important.  As informed citizenry, you should know the basics of how our planet operates, how materials cycle through it and around it, how we find and use our natural resources, how we are affected by natural hazards, and how we affect natural processes and systems. 



By the end of this course, you should be able to:

1)      Make informed decisions related to Earth Sciences as both an individual (Where should I buy a home to minimize my risk to natural hazards?) and as a member of society (How should we zone for development in floodplains?).

2)      Predict topographic relationships, rock and mineral assemblages, and natural hazard risks in a location based on tectonic setting. 

3)      Put current anthropogenic perturbations to climate and surface processes into a deep time perspective.  This involves an understanding of basic systems that cycle water, sediment/rock, and gas on our planet and how modern human activities are a part of those cycles.



Your lab grade will compose 25% of your total grade, with the lecture component covering the other 75%.  Attendance in lab is mandatory!  If you miss 3 or more labs, you will receive zero credit for the lab portion of your grade.


                                                25%     Lab (lab grades will be standardized between TAs)

                                                5%       In-class Exercises

                                                5%       Geology in the news assignment

                                                10%     On-line quizzes (lowest score is dropped)

                                                12%     Exam #1          (2/8/12)

                                                12%     Exam #2          (3/2/12)

                                                12%     Exam #3          (4/18/12)

                                                19%     Final Exam      (5/8/12)











No Lab


Formation, Composition and Structure of the Earth

Ch.1, p. 8-32



Composition and Structure of the Earth; Geologic Time

No Quiz

Ch.10.6-10.9, p.285-295

1. Plate Tectonics


Plate Tectonics

Ch.2, p.33-47


Plate Tectonics

Ch.2, p.47-67



Hazards: Earthquakes

Quiz 1 Due 2pm

Ch.8, p.200-239

2. Earth-quakes






USGS Report




Quiz 2 Due 2pm

Ch.3, p.68-84

3. Minerals


Exam #1 (not including minerals)



Rock Cycle; Igneous Rocks

Ch.4, p.85-110



Igneous Rocks

Quiz 3 Due 2pm


4. Geology of BWCA


Hazards: Volcanoes

Ch.5, p.121-137






Weathering & Sediment

Quiz 4 Due 2pm

Int.B, p.138-151

5. Living with volcanoes


Sedimentary Rocks

Ch.6, p.152-173


Sedimentary Rocks




Metamorphic Rocks

Quiz 5 Due 2pm

Ch.7, p.175-193

6. Revisiting plate tectonics



Integrating tectonics & rocks/minerals

Int.C, p.194-199


Start Mountain Building (or Catch-up and Review)




Exam #2

No Quiz

Ch.9, p.240-265



Mountain Building



Pulling it all Together: The Geologic Record

Ch.10, p.276-297



Spring Break





Earth History

Quiz 6 Due WED 2pm

Ch.11, p.298-320

7.Carbon Cycle


Earth History



Geologic History of Lake Superior




Earth’s Resources: Ores

Quiz 7 Due 2pm

Ch.12, p.321-340

8.Habitable Planet


Earth’s Resources: Energy

Ch.12, p.340-350


Hydrologic Cycle; Rivers

Int.F, p.351-360; Ch.14., p.378-403



Hazards: Flooding

Quiz 8 Due 2pm


9.Topo maps and watersheds



Ch.18, p.469-491






Climate Change, Pleistocene Ice Ages

Quiz 9 Due 2pm

Ch.18, p.491-498

10. MN’s Glacial Geology


Hillslopes & Mass Movements

Ch.13, p.361-377


Hazards: Landslides




Catch up and Review

Quiz 10 Due 2pm


11.Venus & Earth



Exam #3



Oceans, circulation and stratification

Ch.15, p.405-413



Oceans, coastlines sea level

No Quiz

Ch.15, p.413-429

Lab Final





Coastal Hazards & Hurricanes



Earth Systems & Global Change

Ch.19, p.499-518



Modern climate change

Quiz 11 Due 2pm

Selections from IPCC report

12.Field Trip Leif Erickson Park


Modern climate change in context



Catch-up and Review




Final Exam, 12:00-1:55




Other useful information:

Liberal Education Content:  This class fulfills the liberal education category 4 requirement (Physical and Biological Sciences with a lab). 


Quizzes: Quizzes will be conducted on-line most weekends covering material from lecture and assigned readings.  They will be posted on Friday afternoon (usually by 5pm) and will be open and available until lecture on Monday (2pm).  It is your responsibility to find internet access sometime between Friday at 5pm and Monday at 2pm.  Once quizzes close on-line, I will not reopen them.  There are 11 quizzes scheduled during the semester, worth a total of 10% of your grade.  The lowest quiz grade will be dropped.  You can have up to 2 attempts at each quiz, with an hour allowed for each attempt.  They are open book and open note.  My suggestion is that you try the first attempt without consulting books and notes to test your understanding of the material. 


Grades: I will post grades to e-gradebook in a timely manner (  Automatically-graded portions of exams will be posted to e-gradebook with your individual responses posted to a webdrop folder (  It is your responsibility to periodically check e-gradebook and make sure grades are not missing.  Lab grades will be handled directly by your TA and will be posted by lab section to e-gradebook.  Exam and quiz grades should be discussed with your instructor.


Missed Assignments/Exams:  It is your responsibility to attend class and lab.  If you miss 3 or more lab sessions, you will receive zero credit for the lab portion of your grade.  Make-up exams will not be given without prior instructor approval. Please contact the instructor at least two weeks prior to the scheduled exam for any anticipated absence that is excusable according to UMD policies.  If you miss an exam without prior instructor approval, you will receive zero credit for that exam.  If you miss an in-class exercise, you will receive zero credit for that assignment. 


Additional UMD policies

Excused Absences:

Students are expected to attend all scheduled class meetings.  It is the responsibility of students to plan their schedules to avoid excessive conflict with course requirements. However, there are legitimate and verifiable circumstances that lead to excused student absence from the classroom.  These are subpoenas, jury duty, military duty, religious observances, illness, bereavement for immediate family, and NCAA varsity intercollegiate athletics.  For complete information, please see: 


Teaching & Learning: Instructor and Student Responsibilities:

UMD is committed to providing a positive, safe, and inclusive place for all who study and work here.  A central mission of the university is to educate students through the offering of courses and programs leading to the conferral of degrees. Teaching and learning at the university take place in a variety of educational settings including on-campus lecture halls and classrooms, laboratories, field sites, and online.  Instructors and students have mutual responsibility to insure that the environment in all of these settings supports teaching and learning, is respectful of the rights and freedoms of all members, and promotes a civil and open exchange of ideas. Making hostile, threatening, discriminatory or disparaging remarks toward or about the instructor, other members of the class or groups of people will not be tolerated. To reference the full policy please see: 


Student Conduct Code:

Appropriate classroom conduct promotes an environment of academic achievement and integrity.  Disruptive classroom behavior that substantially or repeatedly interrupts either the instructor's ability to teach, or student learning, is prohibited. Disruptive behavior includes inappropriate use of technology in the classroom. Examples include ringing cell phones, text-messaging, watching videos, playing computer games, doing email, or surfing the Internet on your computer instead of note-taking or other instructor-sanctioned activities. Students are expected adhere to Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code:  


Academic Integrity:

Academic dishonesty tarnishes UMD’s reputation and discredits the accomplishments of students.  Academic dishonesty is regarded as a serious offense by all members of the academic community.  UMD’s Student Academic Integrity Policy can be found at: 


Appropriate Student Use of Class Notes and Course Materials:

Taking notes is a means of recording information but more importantly of personally absorbing and integrating the educational experience. However, broadly disseminating class notes beyond the classroom community or accepting compensation for taking and distributing classroom notes undermines instructor interests in their intellectual work product while not substantially furthering instructor and student interests in effective learning. For additional information, please see:


Students with disabilities: 

It is the policy and practice of the University of Minnesota Duluth to create inclusive learning environments for all students, including students with disabilities.  If there are aspects of this course that result in barriers to your inclusion or your ability to meet course requirements – such as time limited exams, inaccessible web content, or the use of non-captioned videos – please notify the instructor as soon as possible.  You are also encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Resources to discuss and arrange reasonable accommodations.   Please call 218-726-6130 or visit the DR website at for more information. 


Internet ID Access:

In this class, our use of technology will sometimes make students' names and U of M Internet IDs visible within the course website, but only to other students in the same class. Since we are using a secure, password-protected course website, this will not increase the risk of identity theft or spamming for anyone in the class. If you have concerns about the visibility of your Internet ID, please contact me for further information.