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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:    2017

 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: Appropriate placement or grade of 2.0 or higher in ENGL 099.

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. Describe how water, wind, ice and snow modify the surface of the Earth.
  3. Show how the theory of plate tectonics is used to determine where and how mountain building, earthquakes, and mineral resources occur, how they evolve, and the rates at which geological processes occur.
  4. Explain the basic structure of the interior of the Earth, and how this structure controls plate tectonics, Earth magnetism, and volcanism.
  5. Describe how Earth systems (geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere) have evolved over geologic time.
  6. Recognize how humans influence the physical processes and the resources of Earth, and what human actions portend for the future of Earth and human society.
  7. Understand some the characteristics and history of our local geology (Washington State) that expresses the processes described in points 1 through 6 above.

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.