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 Course Title:   Intro Physical Geology

 Title Abbreviation:   INTRO PHYSICAL GEOLOGY

 Department:    GEOL&

 Course #:    101

 Credits:    5

 Variable:     No

 IUs:    5.5

 CIP:    400601

 EPC:    n/a

 REV:    2013

 Course Description  

A survey of physical systems that give the Earth its structure. Emphasis on internal and surface processes, and applying physical sciences to explain Earth composition, forms, and past. Field trips may be required. Lab included.


Prerequisite: Recommended that students complete Math 99 and English 99 both with a C or better prior to taking this course.

Additional Course Details

Contact Hours (based on 11 week quarter)

Lecture: 44

Lab: 22

Other: 0

Systems: 0

Clinical: 0

Intent: Distribution Requirement(s) Status:  

Academic Natural Sciences  

Equivalencies At Other Institutions

Other Institution Equivalencies Table
Institution Course # Remarks
CWU GLG 145 & 145.1
U of W GLG 101

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify common rocks, minerals, and fossils, and know how they can be used to determine the history and processes of the Earth.
  2. Know how water, wind, ice and snow modify the surface of the Earth.
  3. Show how the theory of plate tectonics can be used to determine where and how mountain building, earthquakes, and mineral resources occur, and how they evolve.
  4. Know some basic ideas about the interior of the Earth, how this structure differs from our sister planets in our solar system.
  5. Recognize how physical processes on the Earth and historically influenced humanity through earth resources distribution and quality, and what future trends of these resources portend for both individual societies and the global population.
  6. Know what is happening in our local geology (Washington State) that expresses the processes described in points 1 through 5 above.
  7. Identifies the ways in which cultural expectations, assumptions and beliefs define who we are, how others see us, and influence how others and we perform science.

General Education Learning Values & Outcomes

Revised August 2008 and affects outlines for 2008 year 1 and later.

2. Critical Thinking

Definition: The ability to think critically about the nature of knowledge within a discipline and about the ways in which that knowledge is constructed and validated and to be sensitive to the ways these processes often vary among disciplines.

Outcomes: Students will be able to . . .
2.3 Identify, interpret, and evaluate pertinent data and previous experience to reach conclusions.

5. Global & Local Awareness & Responsibility

Definition: Understanding the complexity and interdependence of, and stewardship responsibilities to, local and global communities and environments.

Outcomes: Students will be able to . . .
5.1 Understand the impact of their own and other’s actions on local/global communities and environments and how those communities/environments affect them in turn.

8. Mathematical Reasoning

Definition: Understanding and applying concepts of mathematics and logical reasoning in a variety of contexts, both academic and non-academic.

Outcomes: Students will be able to . . .
8.3 Interpret information and reasoning expressed mathematically (for example in spreadsheets, diagrams, charts, formulas, etc.).

9. Scientific Literacy

Definition: Understanding scientific principles, and analyzing and applying scientific information in a variety of contexts.

Outcomes: Students will be able to . . .
9.4 Use scientific concepts and principles to understand the natural world, human behavior and culture, and relationships between humans and the rest of the natural world.

Course Contents

  1. Introduction of Basic plate tectonics framework and Mineralogy
  2. Igneous Rocks, Volcanism
  3. Metamorphism. Weathering.
  4. Physical Chemistry of Water, Sedimentation
  5. Geomorphology I: Global Climate, Mass-wasting, Groundwater
  6. Geomorphology II: Rivers, Flooding, Glaciers, and Ice Ages
  7. Geomorphology III: Shoreline processes, Deserts, Climate variability
  8. Structural geology, Seismology, Local Earthquake Hazards
  9. Plate Tectonics I: seismic and geomagnetic constraints, heat flow
  10. Plate Tectonics II: refinements, local plate motion, effects on resource distribution.