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Welcome to Geology GEO B10. Instructor Jack Pierce Room DST 118. SILENCE YOUR CELL PHONE. Tuesday, August 26, 2010 Attendance Geology Introduction. 6:00 – 9:10 pm - Tuesday. What is Geology? Geo ( ) + logy ( )

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Welcome to geology geo b10

Welcome to GeologyGEO B10


Jack Pierce

Room DST 118


  • Tuesday, August 26, 2010

    • Attendance

    • Geology Introduction

6:00 – 9:10 pm - Tuesday

Welcome to geology geo b10

What is Geology?

Geo ( ) + logy ( )

Study of the Earth

More specifically:

materials that compose the earth

minerals / rocks

processes that shape the earth







Welcome to geology geo b10

Geology is divided into two broad subject areas:

Physical Geology / Historical Geology

  • Physical Geology:

  • understanding the processes on earth below and above the

  • earth surface and the materials (rocks) involved with these

  • processes

erosional processes occurring above the


earthquakes occurring below the

surface transferring energy to the


processes below the earth’s

surface that move rigid plate

material on the surface

Welcome to geology geo b10

  • Historical Geology

  • understanding the evolution of the earth and its life forms

  • from its origins to the present day

  • involves investigations into stratigraphy (rock layers), and

  • paleontology (the fossil record)

layers of rock deposited one layer

over another– preserving evidence

to the origin of the earth

“The rock record”

fossils- preserved animal/plant

remains in the earth’s crust

demonstrating the progression of life

throughout earth’s history

Welcome to geology geo b10

  • The Geologic Time Scale

  • attempts to organize 4.6 b.y.

  • of the earth history

  • created from both relative

  • and absolute dating processes

  • based on fossil succession and

  • relative dating principles.

Age of



Age of fish

When does the presence

of man appear on the

geologic time scale?


Welcome to geology geo b10

Humans and Our Earth

How long have humans inhabited the earth?



Age of


4.6 billion years

Man began inhabiting the earth (2 million years ago) --December 31, the last 30 seconds of the year!!!!

How has man impacted earth in the last 5000

years (the beginning of reasonably modern times)


Welcome to geology geo b10

Specifically, geology is defined as:

the study of the planet earth--- materials of which it is made,

the internal/external processes that act on these materials

which produce new materials (rock types) and the history of

the planet and its life forms since its origin

  • Specific disciplines within the field of geology

    • Seismology

      • investigate the occurrence of earthquakes

    • Economic geology

      • formation/occurrence of mineral resources

    • Volcanology

      • investigates volcanoes and volcanic eruptions

    • Hydrogeology

      • investigation of surface/subsurface water processes

Welcome to geology geo b10


geology class

Discuss with a friend:

  • What is the specific definition

  • of geology?

  • 2. Describe the differences between

  • physical and historical geology.

I will get an A on my exams and quizzes

Welcome to geology geo b10

How does the view of Earth influence the way we study earth??

What do you see?

  • Various “systems” within the earth that interact

  • with one another -– called Earth System Science

    • Systems are NOT individually studied

    • How one system impacts another

    • system


Welcome to geology geo b10

Which system is the Earth?










No exchange of

matter orenergy

Exchange of energy

but not matter

Exchange of both

matter and energy


Welcome to geology geo b10

The Fragile Earth – A earth?? CLOSED system:

  • Any change in a closed system will affect other

  • systems.

  • The amount of matter on earth is “fixed” – “We ain’t got

  • no more” --- This is all we have.

  • When we dispose of waste, it’s still here. The waste will

  • remain within the closed boundaries of earth.


“There is no away to throw things to.”




Welcome to geology geo b10

I earth??

this geology class.

Discuss with a friend:

  • Define a system as discussed in

  • earth science.

  • 2. Differentiate between an open, closed,

  • and isolated system.

  • 3. Explain why earth is considered a closed

  • system.

I will get an A on my exams and quizzes.


Welcome to geology geo b10

The fragile earth as a earth?? closed system is supported by four

interrelated open systems.


Represents the solid earth:

minerals, rocks, and interior


Includes all living

organisms on land,

in water, and in air


Thin blanket of gas keeping

life alive, warm, and protected


Interaction of all water processes,

only planet with water,

71% ocean 12,500 feet deep,

streams, lakes, groundwater


Interaction of

all open systems


Welcome to geology geo b10

Cycles and Interactions Explored in Geology earth??

There are three (3) main earth cycles and within each cycle,

multiple open systems exist.

Hydrologic Cycle

describes the movement of water

through reservoirs of the earth system

(rivers, water vapor, groundwater)

The Rock Cycle

internal/external earth processes

that produce new rock, modifies

rock, transport rock, and breaks

rocks down

The Tectonic Cycle

movement and interaction between

rigid lithosperic plates, internal

earth processes producing divergent,

convergent, and sliding plate motions

Welcome to geology geo b10

I earth??

geology class


geology class

  • Define the four major open systems and

  • give an example of how systems may

  • interact with one another.

  • Define the three major cycles used to

  • explore geologic processes and give an

  • example of how these cycles may

  • interact with one another.

I will get an A on my exams and quizzes

Welcome to geology geo b10

8. earth??

The earth’s place in the solar system





Outer planets

Jovian planets

Gas planets




Low densities


Inner planets

Terrestrial planets


High densities


Asteroid Belt

Welcome to geology geo b10

Lithosphere earth??

Cont/ocean crust

Upper mantle

2.8 g/cm3



ductile rock

Mantle -Solid Si,O,Fe,Mg,Ca

5.5 g/cm3


Why are densities

arranged from

heavy (core) to

lightest (crust)?



5000 C

Source of



Outer Core

Molten – Ni, Fe

11.5 g/cm3



Inner Core

Solid- Ni, Fe

12.5 g/cm3


The earth’s interior

Welcome to geology geo b10

What makes earth??

earth unique??

  • Oxygen, water, life

    • oxygen atmosphere

    • no O2 on other planets

    • the hydrologic cycle

  • Soil accumulation

    • weathering of rocks

    • various soil types

  • Plate Tectonics

    • moving continents

    • formation of landforms

    • from interacting plates


Welcome to geology geo b10

  • Plate Tectonics earth??

    • The movement and interactions of large

    • fragments of earth lithosphere (called plates)

      • earthquakes

      • new landforms

      • volcanoes

      • new climatic regions on the earth

      • creation of new rock types on the crust

  • Oceanic Crust

    • Thin, dense (Fe, Mg) young rock –basalt

    • underlying the ocean floor

  • Continental Crust

    • Thicker, less dense (Si,O) older rock – granite

    • making the bulk of the earth’s land


Welcome to geology geo b10

Plate Tectonics!!! earth??

Scientists use fossil evidence,

sea floor evidence, and climatic

evidence to reconstruct the

continents!!!!!!– HOT TOPIC


Welcome to geology geo b10

I earth??

Earth Science.

Discuss with a friend:

  • Name the planets in their proper order.

  • 2. Describe the layering of the earth

  • using lithosphere, asthenosphere,

  • mantle, and core; explain properties.

  • 3. Describe chemical differentiation.

  • 4. Present at least 3 reasons why the

  • earth is unique.

I will get an A on my exams and quizzes.


Welcome to geology geo b10

Geophilosophical Questions earth??

  • Is the Earth old or considered young?

  • Are earth process rates rapid or slow?

  • How can rock (considered 2-b.y. old) have the

  • same composition of present rock produced

  • today?

  • If mountains are built through tectonic processes,

  • why can’t we make obvious observations?

  • In terms of geologic time, why is it possible for a

  • storm to erode 2-million years of rock formation

  • in a single day?

Welcome to geology geo b10

Historical aspects about geology earth??

There are two schools of thought on the geologic history and processes that formed our earth.

Catastrophism vs. Uniformitarianism


Welcome to geology geo b10

Catastrophism earth?? : (mid-1600’s)

powerful geologic events that shape the earth in a single incident

Volcanic eruptions


Massive floods



Welcome to geology geo b10

Catastrophism earth?? : (mid-1600’s)

  • published by Anglican Archbishop, James


  • determined that earth was only a few

    thousand years old – created in 4004 BC

  • suggested that earth landscapes are

    fashioned by great catastrophes – features

    form rapidly

  • an attempt to fit the formation of earth

    features into a short amount of time

    (6000 years – Biblical philosophy- creationist



Welcome to geology geo b10

  • Uniformitarianism earth?? – Birth of Modern Geology

    • “The present is the key to the past.”

Uniformitarianism states:

Physical, chemical, and biological laws that

operate today have also operated in the

geologic past.

  • Proposed by James Hutton – late 1700’s

    • argued using the “rock cycle” concept

    • argued using earth processes that can

    • be observed

    • What is required? TIME


Welcome to geology geo b10

  • The Uniformitarianism philosophy earth??

    Do geologic processes act slowly or rapidly?

    How many catastrophic events take place/day?

    When was the last major volcanic eruption?

    When was the last major earthquake?

    How long does it take a river to carve a canyon?

    How fast are the continents moving?

    Do you consider yourself a catastrophist or a uniformitarianist?


Welcome to geology geo b10

Taking Uniformitarianism literally – Problem with “U” earth??

Rates and intensities of geologic processes change over time.


10,000 years ago, large land masses were covered in ice.

Different type of geologic environment than today

Different intensity

Different rates of erosion

Given the concept of Uniformitarianism, would you consider the earth to be very OLD or very YOUNG?


Welcome to geology geo b10

I earth??

geology class.

Discuss with a friend:

  • Describe the differences between

  • catastrophism and uniformitarianism.

  • 2. Provide at least 2 examples each of

  • catastrophism and uniformitarianism.

  • 3. Identify “problems” with both philosophies.

I will get an A on my exams and quizzes.


Welcome to geology geo b10

Why do we care and study our earth (geology)? earth??

  • Earth resources:

    • societies depend on minerals and rocks for material

    • resources

    • soils that produce agriculture products

    • the availability of fresh water for everyone

  • Geologic hazards:

    • volcanic eruptions, landslides, earthquakes, floods

    • (when does nature become a geologic hazard?)

  • The uniqueness of earth

    • constant fascination and can give one geologic chills

    • earth processes may open the door for other planetary

    • processes

Students need the science requirement

for their degree!