GEOL 1045
Minnesota's Geological History

A Freshman Seminar

Spring 2007 Syllabus (Word, pdf)

Course Objectives (Word)

One of the main objective of this class will be to show how geologists can read the language of the rocks and landscape of Minnesota to tell the fantastic story of how the core of North America was created.  It is a powerful and dramatic tale of exploding volcanoes rising out of primordial oceans, of seas teeming with early life forms, of mountains of unrivaled height, of incandescent lava fountaining out of mile-long fissures, of white sandy beaches lapped by azure blue oceans, of tropical rainforests overrun by dinosaurs, and mile-thick glaciers slowly carving a new landscape. 

In addition to attempting to satisfy our intellectual curiosity of how this place we call Minnesota came to be, another objective of this class is to highlight the earth resources available to us in Minnesota that we need for our everyday existence in a modern society.  We will explore what resources are here, how and when they were created, and how we use (or reuse) them.  We will also discuss how we should steward these inherently non-renewable resources.
MN Geology

Lecture Schedule

1/16  Introduction, Field Geology-Reading the Rocks
.........Seminar Outline/Homework Assignment#1
The Language of the Earth
1/18  The Language of Igneous Rocks
.........Primer on Igneous Rocks
1/23  The Language of Sediment and Sedimentary Rocks
.........Primer on Sedimentary Rocks
1/25  The Language of Metamorphic Rocks
.........Primer on Metamorphic Rocks
.........Homework Assignment #2
1/30  The Rock Cycle and Plate Tectonics-The Evidence
........Rock Cycle Game
2/1    Plate Tectonics-The Theory
........This Dynamic Earth (A USGS On-line Article)
........Homework Assignment #3
........Plate Boundary Map
........Earthquake Record Table
2/6    Geophysics - Indirect Geological Evidence
........Earthquakes in Minnesota (MN at a Glance)
2/8    Geologic Time and Age Dating
........Homework Assignment #4
........Primer on Geochronology
2/13  Geologic Maps – Documenting the Story
........In-class & Homework Assignment #5
........Little Marais quadrangle geologic map
2/15  Midterm Exam
The Geologic Story of Minnesota
2/20  Geology Jeopardy
2/22  The Archean Geology of Minnesota
2/27  The Paleoproterozoic Penokean Mountains of Central Minnesota
3/1    The Mesoproterozoic Midcontinent Rift of Northeastern Minnesota
3/6    No Class
3/8    The Phanerozoic Geology of Minnesota
3/12-16   Spring Break
3/20  The Quaternary (Ice Age) Geology of Minnesota
3/22  In class exercise #6 on glacial landforms
.........Glacial Till/Topography map (GTT) for exercise
3/27 Rock Stories Report Due
Natural Resources of Minnesota
3/29  Stewarding the World’s Mineral Resources
..........
Homework Assignment (Making a Lightbulb)
.......Resource Maps of industrial minerals, base metals, import list (jpegs)
4/3   Mineral Resources of Minnesota
.......Geologic Formations Final Reports
4/5   No Class
4/10 No Class
4/12  Water Resources
.......Water Quiz Homework Assignment
4/14-15            Field Trip to SW Minnesota
4/17  No Class
4/19  Careers in Geology
4/24  Minnesota Rock Formation Oral Reports
4/26  Minnesota Rock Formation Oral Reports, Prep for Field Trip
4/28-29            Field Trip to NE Minnesota
5/1    Minnesota Rock Formation Oral Reports
5/3    Minnesota Rock Formation Oral Reports


 

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