EaES 111

Earth, Energy, and the Environment

Instructor: TBD
Components: lectures, labs, discussion, field trip
Prerequisite: none
Timing: fall and spring semesters
Frequency: every year
Credits: 5 credit hours

This course provides a general introduction to physical geology, in particular, the large-scale geochemical and geophysical aspects of the science. The first part focuses on understanding the history of the universe, the establishment of the solar system and Planet Earth, the creation of the chemical elements, and the formation of minerals and rocks. A deep understanding of mineral/rock classification and interpretation is provided.


The second part of the course focuses on understanding the evolution of Earth's interior and how it manifests itself on the surface of the planet. Generalized descriptions of the planetary interior as obtained from seismic information are provided, in addition to discussions of earthquakes, plate tectonics, and structural features associated with plate movements. This section of the course is rounded off with discussions of specific tectonic environments, absolute/relative geochronology, and geologic maps.


The third part of the course focuses on the evolution of the planetary surface from its Hadean beginnings to the modern human-influenced landscape. Archean-Proterozoic-Phanerozoic plate interactions and the co-evolution of geology and life are examined in detail, including the evolution of reef environments, dinosaurs, and mammals.

Labs focus on a variety of topics ranging from mineral/rock identification to understanding earthquakes and to mapping. The day-long field trip to the La Salle area reinforces geology concepts learned in class and lab.