Contact information

Course logistics

Student success

Success in Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) courses like Environmental Geology (GEOL 1110) depends on a student's preparation, participation and the format of the course.

Course materials

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course a student is expected to be able to:

Fall 2011 course schedule


Lesson topic(s)



15-Aug—22-Aug Orientation websites discussion board post
22-Aug—29-Aug Fundamental concepts in environmental geology 1; aD Rb-Sr Isochron
29-Aug—5-Sep Earth's internal structure and plate tectonics 2 plate boundary characteristics
5-Sep—12-Sep Earth materials: rocks and minerals 3; aA, B earth materials & relative dating
12-Sep—19-Sep Natural hazards 5 earthquake damage
19-Sep—26-Sep Earthquakes and tsunamis 6, 7 Earthquake!
26-Sep—3-Oct Volcanoes and volcanic hazards 8 volcanic hazards
3-Oct—10-Oct Rivers and flooding 9 River Discharge
10-Oct—17-Oct Landslides and mass movements 10 landslide hazards
17-Oct—24-Oct Coastal processes 11 outline of article
24-Oct—31-Oct Water resources 13 snowpack monitoring
31-Oct—7-Nov Water pollution 14 groundwater contamination
7-Nov—14-Nov Mineral resources: ore formation and mining 15 abstract of article
14-Nov—21-Nov Fossil fuels and alternative energy resources 16 coal property evaluation
21-Nov—28-Nov Soil formation and erosion 17 landfill siting
28-Nov—5-Dec Global climate change 18 revised abstract
5-Dec—12-Dec Air pollution and waste management 19 tsunamis and storm surges
12-Dec—15-Dec final exam all ---


Grades will be based on total scores for:

There will not be any 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 6-10 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-Nov-2011) 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 Disabilities

If 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, bring your official notification of your accommodation needs to me 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 the same throughout the semester (new assignments will 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 fail to turn in an assignment in on time. The key to avoiding this problem is to complete your assignments well ahead of the Monday due dates. If you do end up missing a deadline, however, do not access the assignment in Etudes and, instead, contact me before 9:00 AM the next day. I will re-open the missed assignment for a short period (typically two days) and suspend the accompanying 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 before 9:00 AM on the Tuesday immediately after the original due date 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.

Academic integrity

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.