Lecture: MWF, 10am -10:50am, BO 100
The objectives of Historical Geology are to give the student a comprehensive survey of the history of life, and major events in the physical development of Earth. Most importantly, this class addresses how processes like plate tectonics and climate interact with life, forming an integrated system. The first half of the class focuses on concepts, and the second on a chronologic overview of major biological and physical events in different geologic periods.
Lecture mid-term 15%
Lecture final 20%
The quizzes will be held in the first 15 minutes of class, and I will let everyone know the subject the week before.
Review sheets for the lecture midterm and final will be passed out the class period before the exam. Each will include a combination of multiple choice, short answer, and essay-style questions.
A = 100-90% | B = 89-80% | C = 79-70% | D = 69-60% | F = 59-0%
Essay Format (DUE Dec 7)
The essay should have introduction and conclusions sections. All sources of information must be cited in the body of the text and listed in a reference list at the end of the essay. Citation consists of the author's name plus the publication date. e.g. Jones (2001) or (Jones, 2001). You should use several references in writing the essay (at least half-a-dozen) and most of these must be from scientific journals.
Web sites are not usually appropriate sources for college level essays. Do not use web sites as sources of information for your essay. However, you are encouraged to use the Midwestern Library on-line resources to research your essay. An essay that makes extensive use of web sites as primary sources is not acceptable.
The following journals are good sources and many of them can be accessed on-line:
Semipopular journals: Scientific American; American Scientist.
Research journals: Paleobiology; Journal of Paleontology, Lethaia; Science; Nature; Palaeoecology, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology; Palaios.
Illustrations should be included where appropriate and may be photocopied or scanned directly from a scientific journal or text book. However, the source of the information should be indicated in the figure caption (e.g. from Jones, 2001). You may also use images from the web, but include the site information.
Length. The text (excluding title page and references) of the essay should be 6-8 pages (double spaced) in length; 12 point font; margins should be 1 inch, except for left (1.5 inches). There is no limit on the number of illustrations.
Check that your essay is free from basic grammatical, spelling and typographic errors before handing it in.
Essay topics. The essay can be on any topic in the history of the earth and life. In order to assist you in choosing a subject, a list of potential topics is included below. However, you are free to come up with your own topic if none of these are appealing. It is a good idea to clear your essay topic with me prior to writing.
1. Detailed look at one mass extinction in the fossil record.
2. Ecology of dinosaurs
3. Physiology of dinosaurs (“warm-blooded” or “cold-blooded”)
4. Evolution of flight in birds.
5. Evolutionary history of land plants.
6. Fossil evidence for early life in the Precambrian.
7. Composition and significance of the Ediacaran fauna.
8. Geological history of reef-building organisms.
9. Ice ages through geological time
10. Composition and significance of the mid-Cambrian Burgess Shale fauna.
11. The Supercontinent Cycle.
12. Changes in the composition of marine communities during the Phanerozoic.
13. Human evolution.
14. The Cambrian explosion of invertebrates.
15. Emergence of life onto land.
16. Controls on sea level over geological time
17. Human impacts on the biosphere (global warming; recent extinctions, etc.).
18. Origin and evolution of mammals.
19. The significance of a major figure in the development of geology or paleontology
as a science (e.g., Steno, Hutton, Smith, Darwin, etc.).
20. How the retreat of glaciers affected topography.
For lab assignments and the essay, the late penalty is 5% per working day (25% per week) without a proper excuse. No assignments or essays will be accepted after the last day of classes.
Attendance is required for both lecture and lab. Absences can only be excused by contacting me in advance, prior to lecture or laboratory assignments. Absences presented after the class is over will not be accommodated except in rare circumstances. I reserve the right to drop any student from the class who has more than 3 unexcused absences.