Basic Geological Concepts.
After reading the chapter and attending al lectures and
viewing the film, you should be able to:
the ideas of the origin of the earth (e.g., accretion as discussed in
the film, The Third Planet.) Can you propose an alternative,
scientifically credible hypothesis?
a brief history of the field of geological study including at least the
following person or topics:
the following ideas which led Hutton to his revolutionary proposal:
rocks at Siccar Point
of original horizontality
how the concept of relative geologic time was derived from these
ideas, as well as the principle of faunal succession.
the difference between absolute dating and relative dating.
spell correctly, and give the absolute ages of the geologic time scale from Precambrian
through the Recent.
to an art major the mechanisms which formed and continue to form the
“earth machine”, including the hydrologic cycle, erosion, sedimentation,
weathering, mass wasting, etc.
the rock cycle, including the three major rock types,
and the processes that form and destroy them (freezing of magma, lithification,
metamorphism, melting, compaction, cementation, erosion,
a simple cross-section of the earth’s structure, labeling layers and the
approximate thickness of the crust (both oceanic and continental), mantle,
and outer and inner cores. Explain
how we know these things even though we’ve never drilled that deep.
the concepts of the fixed nature of continents and continental drift.
a brief summary of the history of the proposal of continental drift by
Wegener. Why were his ideas not
widely accepted until the 1960s?
- summarize the physical evidence that
caused a change of the basic paradigm in geoscience.
Be sure to include structural and glacial evidence, zoogeography of
fossils, stratigraphy, paleomagnetic evidence (e.g., magnetic declination,
polar-wandering curves, etc.)
Critical Thinking Questions and Activities:
Wegener’s opponents intolerant and rigid thinkers, not too bright, or did
they have sound reasons for disagreeing with his ideas?
you think that there are other solidly entrenched ideas in science today
that might be completely overturned (such as continental drift displaced the
notion of fixed continents)? Which
currently held idea do you think is most likely to be proven false?
What role do you think offbeat research done by ‘quacks’ plays in