Ring of Fire: Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Plate Tectonics

Introduction to Geology
University College: Washington University in St. Louis
EPSc 1021, Spring 2007
General Information
Time: Mondays, 6:30-9:00 PM
Location: Earth & Planetary Sciences Building, Room 102
Instructor: Dr. Channon Visscher
Email: [email protected]
Course website: TBA
Text: Geology, 4th Edition, by Chernicoff & Whitney
Official Course Description
Survey of physical and historical geology suitable for non-majors. Materials of the Earth;
external and internal agents of change; changes in geography, climate, and life through time; the
origin of continents, ocean basins, and mountains; history and characteristics of the oceans;
origin and occurrence of petroleum and coal. Present environment viewed in the perspective of
its geological evolution.
Assignments and Grading
Problem Sets: Problem sets will consist of questions based upon required reading assignments
and the lecture material. Late homework assignments will not be accepted. The problem sets are
worth 25% of your final grade.
Exams: Three exams will be administered throughout the semester. Exam questions will be a
combination of multiple choice, short answer, and essay, and will be based upon class lectures
and reading assignments. You will be given a study guide before each exam. Although the
exams are not cumulative, important contextual themes (i.e., plate tectonics) will appear
throughout the semester. Each exam is worth 25% of your final grade.
Letter Grades: Letter grades will be assigned as follows:
A+ (100-97) B+ (89-87)
C+ (79-77)
D+ (69-67)
A (96-93)
B (86-83)
C (76-73)
D (66-63)
A- (92-90) B- (82-80)
C- (72-70)
F (<63)
Attendance Policy: There is no attendance policy for this class. If you know you will miss class,
contact the instructor in advance regarding due assignments, etc. You are expected to play an
active role in learning the course material. This includes completing the reading assignments.
The lectures and text will then complement each other, enabling you to succeed in the class.
Tentative Class Schedule
EPSc 1021, Spring 2007
Lecture Topic
Jan 22
Introduction to planet Earth; origins
Chapter 1
Jan 29
Interior of the Earth; continental drift and plate tectonics
Chapter 1, 11
Feb 5
Earth materials: minerals
Chapter 2
Feb 12
Earth materials: rocks
Chapter 3, 6, 7
Feb 19
Exam 1; Rock record and geologic time
Chapter 8
Feb 26
Chapter 4
Mar 5
Geomorphology; folds, faults, and fabrics
Chapter 9
Mar 12
Spring Break
Mar 19
Earthquakes and natural hazards
Chapter 9
Mar 26
Plate tectonics and continent formation
Chapter 13
Apr 2
Exam 2; Plate tectonics through time
Chapter 1, 8
Apr 9
Plate tectonics and ocean formation
Chapter 12
Apr 16
Water; oceans and the hydrologic cycle
Chapter 15, 16
Apr 23
Climate; glaciers and ice ages; human impact
Chapter 17
Apr 30
Resources of the Earth
Chapter 20
May 7
Exam 3
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