Geol 1070

Earth and its Physical Environment




Shadow of the Moon caused by a full solar eclipse
(Photo from NASA astronaut photography web site)







email Kay (your TA)

email Mike (your professor)


 UNIT 1: LOCATING PLACES ON THE PLANET, Co-ordinates, Maps and Resources


 Jan. 11:    Conversions: Handling & Converting numbers

Interesting Links:

Practice Sheet for Conversions

                   Conversions Table


Jan. 18:     Global co-ordinate systems, Longitude and latitude, Maps and Projections

Interesting Links:                  

U.S.G.S.  Map Projections Poster                     Web version of the map projections poster from class

Find your House!                                                Zoom in on aerial photographs anywhere in the U. S.


Jan. 20:     Old Maps, Latitude and the “Longitude Problem”; Township and Range System

          Interesting Links:                

          John Harrison’s Chronometer #1                  That’s quite a pocket watch!

          Harrison’s Chronometers #2 and #3             A little bit less ugly…

          Number 4 is a charm                                        The 4th Harrison Chronometer


Jan. 23:     Topographic Maps, Contouring, GPS

                   Basics of Topographic Maps                          U.S. Geologic Survey site explaining topo maps

                      How GPS works                                               A useful site explaining how GPS works


          Jan. 25:     Topographic Maps: Advanced

                   Look at U.S. topography                                 State-by-state topography and shaded relief maps

                   Look at World topography                             Clickable shaded relief/topographic map of the World


          Jan. 27:     Exam #1: Maps and locations

                   Review Sheet

                   Example of previous year’s exam





Subunit A: Plate Tectonics


Jan. 30:     Internal Structure of the Earth, Earthquakes

and Seismic Waves, the Earth’s topography

                   Seismic Waves: Overview

                   Diagrams of the Earth’s Interior         

          More Diagrams of the Earth’s Interior


          Feb. 1:       Seismograms, locating an Earthquake Epicenter

Real-Time Earthquakes: California

                   Real-Time Earthquakes: USA

                   Real-Time Earthquakes: World

                   The Denali Earthquake

                   Pictures of the Denali Fault

The 2004 Sumatra Earthquake

More on the 2004 Sumatra Earthquake (including cool tsunami model)


          Feb. 3:       Plate Tectonics I: How do we identify the Tectonic Plates:

Global Distribution of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and topography

                   Plate tectonics animations

                   “This Dynamic Earth” U.S. Geological Survey Tectonics Page

Computer Programs showing seismic waves, volcanoes, etc…                         


                   Plate Tectonics: Types of Boundaries

Global Earthquake Hazards Map


Feb. 6:       Plate Tectonics II: Ridges, Trenches and Transforms. Hot Spots Lab.

San Andreas Fault Tour

Feb. 8:       Plate Tectonics III: Evidence for Plate Tectonics

                   Tsunamis (Tidal Waves)

                   Plate motions from GPS – Some maps

Continental Drift and Plate Reconstructions

Plate Tectonic Animations


Feb. 10:    Exam #2 (Plate Tectonics)

                   Review Sheet

                   Example of previous Exam


Subunit B: Rocks & Minerals



          Feb. 13:    Organization of Matter; Atoms to Elements, What is a Mineral? Mineral Density

                   The Structure of Matter                                  Powerpoint about Atoms & the Structure of Matter

Mineral Structure Diagrams                           Informative page showing some packing structures


          Feb. 15:    Minerals and Mineral ID Lab

                   Mineral ID guide                                               An online primer on rock and mineral ID

                   Mineral Pictures                                               Gallery of mineral photos listed by name


          Feb. 17:    The Rock Cycle, Igneous Rocks

                   Mineral ID guide                                               An online primer on rock and mineral ID

                   Mineral Pictures                                               Gallery of mineral photos listed by name

                   Igneous Rocks                                                   Guide to igneous rocks


          Feb. 20:    Weathering, Erosion, Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks and Environments

                   The difference between Weathering & Erosion

Sedimentary Rocks                                          Guide to Sedimentary Rocks


          Feb. 22:    Conversion of Sediments to Sedimentary Rocks. Metamorphic Rocks

Metamorphic Rocks                                         Guide to Metamorphic Rocks


Feb. 24:    Exam #3

                   Review Sheet

                   Example of previous year’s exam



Subunit C: Our Physical Environment:
Geologic Structures



          Feb. 27: Geologic Timescale, Formations, Horizontality/Superposition; Folds & Faults  

Geologic Time Scale


March 1: Geologic Structures, Cross-Cutting Relationships, Relative Dating

Relative Dating


March 3:   Radiometric Dating

                   U.S. Geological Survey page on radiometric dating

 e; folds faults

March 6: Geologic Maps: Map of Laramie Range & Geohydrology

Geologic Maps


March 8: History of Life


March 10: Exam #4 (Geology)

                   THIS IS A COMPREHENSIVE EXAM!!!

                   Review Sheet

Example of previous Exam 


           MARCH 14-18          SPRING BREAK




March 20:  Astronomy Intro: Units and Orders of Magnitude, Distances, Scales, Powers of Ten

                   Powers of Ten “Official” Website

                   Practice Sheet for Conversions

                   Conversions Table


March 22:  The Solar System: A Visual and Virtual Tour, Gravity

                   Virtual Fly-Through of Solar System

                   A Virtual Tour of the Solar System


March 24:  Distances to Planets, Log Scales

Scale Model of the Solar System “Calculator”

                   Highway-side Scale Model of the Solar System in Maine

                   Links to Examples of Model and Map Scales


March 27:  Sun-Mercury-Venus-Earth-Moon Scale Model

                   Mars Rover Mission Home Page

NASA Earth Observatory 


          March 29:  Distances to Objects: Parallax, Light, Luminosity, Red-Shift and Doppler Effect

                   Doppler effect demonstration


March 31:  Seasons and Phases of the Moon

                   Phases of the Moon – web site

                   Another Moon phases website

                   Seasons: NASA website explaining Earth seasons


April 1:  Comets, Asteroids, Meteors & Meteorites: Crater Impact Lab, Kinetic Energy

                   Web-based Impact simulator

                   3-D graphics of simulated impacts (from Sandia Labs)

                   Images and Diagrams of Craters on Earth

                   Meteor Crater (Arizona, USA) Web Site

          Chicxulub impact


April 5:  Planetarium Visit


          April 7:  Astronomy Unit Exam

                   Review Sheet for Exam

                   Previous Exam


 March 25: 


UNIT 4: METEOROLOGY: Weather & Atmosphere


          April 10: What’s in the Air? Heat & Water,  Convection, Phase Changes

The DataStreme Atmosphere Project


April 12: Relative Humidity; Dewpoint

Humidity & Dewpoint


April 14:  No Class-Easter Break


April 17:  Air Pressure-Temperature-Altitude Relations. Air Masses, Clouds


April 19:  Coriolis Effect, Global Air Circulation

Coriolis Force


April 21: Air Masses. Low & High Pressure Centres  Weather Maps and Fronts

          The weather page

Howstuffworks "How Tornadoes Work"


April 24:  Weather Maps II

 The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Web Page


April 26:  Exponential Growth: population growth & the future of the Earth


April 28:  Meteorology Unit Exam

                   Review Sheet for Meteorology Exam

Previous Exam