- Instructor: William Hirt
- Office: Science 217 (7-217)
- Office hours: MWF 10:00-10:50 AM, TTh 12:30-1:20 PM and by appointment
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 530·938·5255
- Fax: 530·938·5506
- Meeting times: online
- Meeting place: online
- Units: 3.0
- Degree applicability: UC, CSU, and COS
Success in Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) courses like Geology of the National Parks (GEOL 1120) depends on a student's preparation and participation as well as on the format of the course.
- Preparation: ENGL 1001 (College Composition) and MATH 0850 (Elementary Algebra) or MATH 0851 (Beginning Algebra I) are prerequisites for this course. Students who have successfully completed these advisories succeed in GEOL 1120 at a significantly higher rate than those who have not. If you have not yet successfully completed ENGL 1001 and MATH 0850 or MATH 0851 you will need to do so before you enroll in GEOL 1120.
- Participation: During the past two years, students who completed this class and submitted at least 85% of their assignments succeeded at a much higher rate (81%) than those who submitted fewer than 90% of their assignments (0%).
- Format: In the long term, students who complete ESS courses that include a lab succeed at a higher average rate (92%) than those who complete either non-lab face-to-face (83%) or online (72%) courses. If you are a student who learns best by hands-on experience or in a group setting you are encouraged to consider taking a lab or face-to-face class.
- Textbook (required): Parks and Plates by Robert Lillie (ISBN-13: 978-0-393-92407-7)
- Online software (required): Hazard City: Assignments in Applied Geology, 4th ed. by King, Carpenter, and Wilson (ISBN-13: 978-0-321-71603-3)
Upon successful completion of this course a student is expected to be able to:
- Contrast the geologic processes that occur at different types of plate boundaries and hotspots and describe how these processes produce the unique rock assemblages found in each setting.
- Establish timing of geologic events that have shaped a park landscape, as depicted in a geologic map or cross-section, by applying relative and absolute dating principles.
- Infer the likely tectonic setting of a national park from a description of its major geologic features and explain how such features are produced by the processes that operate at a specific type of plate boundary or hotspot.
- Analyze the development of a park’s landforms in terms of the interactions between tectonic and volcanic processes, which are driven by Earth’s internal heat, and erosional processes caused by the movements of water, wind and ice.
- Outline the major geologic events that have shaped North America and list parklands where features related to each of these events could be observed.
- Analyze whether an observation, experimental result or proposed explanation is consistent with a scientific hypothesis for a natural phenomenon and effectively communicate this analysis to others.
Spring 2014 course schedule
|8-Jan—15-Jan||Orientation||websites||discussion board post|
|15-Jan—27-Jan||Plate tectonics||1:1-20||plate boundaries|
|27-Jan—3-Feb||Geologic time and crustal deformation||2:22-30||Rb/Sr isochron|
|3-Feb—10-Feb||Rocks and minerals||2:30-34||earth materials|
|10-Feb—17-Feb||Earthquakes and volcanoes||2:34-45||Earthquake!|
|17-Feb—24-Feb||Continental rifting||3:49-70||map reading|
|24-Feb—3-Mar||Modern passive margins and coastal processes||4:72-81||shoreline hazards|
|3-Mar—10-Mar||Ancient passive margins and facies changes||4:81-86||relative dating|
|10-Mar—17-Mar||Modern subduction: Cascade and Aleutian arcs||5:89-123||volcanic hazards|
|17-Mar—24-Mar||Ancient subduction zones and alpine glaciation||5:123-125||snowpack monitoring|
|31-Mar—7-Apr||Collisional mountain dynamics and streamflow||6:129-146||river discharge|
|7-Apr—14-Apr||San Andreas Fault and transform boundaries||7:149-164||outline of article|
|14-Apr—21-Apr||Oceanic hotspots: Hawaiian Islands||8:167-190||tsunami/storm surge|
|21-Apr—28-Apr||Continental hotspots: Yellowstone—Snake River Plain||9:193-206||first abstract of article|
|28-Apr—5-May||Undeformed North American craton and groundwater||10:209-228||groundwater contamination|
|5-May:12-May||Deformed North American craton||10:228-236||second abstract of article|
|12-May:19-May||Terrane accretion and landslides||11:239-254||landslide hazards|
Grades will be based on total scores for:
- 17 weekly quizzes (170 total points);
- 14 weekly exercises (135 total points);
- 3 writing assignments (45 total points);
- 1 comprehensive final exam (50 points).
There will be no alternate or "extra credit" assignments. The final grade will be computed from the total of 400 points, and will be scored as follows: > 90% = A; 80-89% = B; 70-79% = C; 60-69% = D; and < 60% = F. The instructor reserves the right to adjust these percentages if such an adjustment is warranted by the distribution of scores in the class, but under no circumstances will a student who earns <65% or fails to submit any of the writing assignments be assigned a "satisfactory" (A, B, or C) grade.
A student should expect to spend about 9 hours per week reading, taking notes on the text, and working on their activities and homework assignments. Preparation of the writing assignments will require about an additional 12 hours during the course of the semester.
Attendance, withdrawal, and incomplete policies
Regular participation and punctual submission of assignments are required for satisfactory completion of this course. If a student incurs two unexcused "absences" (fails to submit two assignments on time without notifying the instructor) the instructor has the option of dropping the student from the class. If a student incurs four unexcused "absences" the instructor will drop the student from the class. A student may withdraw before the end of fourteenth week (18-Apr-2014) and is responsible for notifying the admissions office and completing all necessary forms. Arrangements for an incomplete contract must be made with the instructor, and an "I" grade will only be issued in the case of an unforeseen personal or family emergency.
Learning DisabilitiesIf you anticipate the need for reasonable accommodations to meet the requirements of this course you must register with the Disabled Student Services (DSPS). If you qualify for services through DSPS, send your official notification of your accommodation needs to your instructor as soon as possible. Disabled Student Services is located in Eddy Hall and can be contacted by calling Donna Farris or Linda Rogers at 938-5297.
Make-up policy for missed work
Although our class schedule will be nearly the same throughout the semester (new assignments will generally be posted on Monday mornings by 9:00 AM and be due by the following Monday at 9:00 AM) I realize that, occasionally, a student will have unforeseen problems or simply "space out" and miss turning in an assignment in on time. The key to avoiding this problem is to get an early start and complete your assignments well ahead of the Monday due dates. If you do end up missing a deadline, however, do not start the assignment in Etudes (i.e., don't click on it to open it). Instead, contact me as soon as possible within 24 hours of the original deadline (typically, no later than 9:00 AM Tuesday). I will re-open the missed assignment for a short period (typically two days) and suspend the corresponding review for the same period. Each student will be allowed two such "excused" make-ups after which the late assignment policy given below will apply. Because of the tight schedule for turning in final grades, the final exam may not be made up.
Late assignment policy
Except for the excused make-ups mentioned above, late assignments will not be accepted for full credit. If you find yourself having to turn a third or fourth assignment in late you probably should carefully consider whether you have the time or inclination to give this course the attention it requires. Nevertheless, it is better to submit work late than not at all. So, if you are going to be late with a third or fourth assignment contact me no later than 9:00 AM on the Tuesday immediately after the original deadline and I will arrange to extend the submission period for one or two days. Such assignments will be penalized 1 point for each day (or part of a day) they are late.
Students are encouraged to collaborate with one another as they work on their weekly reading assignments and exercises by posting questions to the discussion board, sending one another private messages, and using the class chat area. I expect that a student will work independently, however, when he or she submits exercise results, takes quizzes and the final exam, and writes his or her outline and abstracts. If I find evidence that any student is not living up to this code of academic integrity (for example, because he or she submits a writing assignment identical or nearly identical to another student's) I reserve the right to drop that student from the class unless it is after the fourteenth week, in which case he or she will receive an F grade regardless of accumulated points.