Physical Geology is the study of the geological processes that affect the earth. This includes a survey of what the earth is made of (rocks, minerals, etc.), how it works on the inside (plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions) and the processes that act upon it from the outside (streams, glaciers, wind, etc.). Identification of common rocks and minerals and the interpretation of topographic maps are part of the required laboratory exercises. An all-day Saturday field trip is optional.
(A requirement that must be completed before taking this course.)
Upon successful completion of the course, the student should be able to:
- Determine the difference between rocks and minerals.
- Determine the difference between the three (3) basic types of rocks (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic).
- Explain the processes involved in the formation of the three (3) basic types of rocks.
- Explain the differences in the style of volcanic eruptions (passive vs. violent) and why they occur.
- Determine whether a particular volcano will erupt violently or passively.
- Distinguish between the different types of volcanic landforms produced by volcanic activity.
- Explain the various types of weathering processes (physical and chemical) that affect rocks exposed at the earth’s surface.
- Explain the various types of erosional agents that affect all things exposed at the earth’s surface.
- Distinguish between the different parts of the internal earth (core, mantle, crust, etc.)
- Distinguish between the various processes at work in continental drift and plate tectonics.
- Differentiate between the different types of tectonic features associated with plate tectonics (mountain ranges, rift zones, subduction zones, island arcs, etc.).
- Explain the glacial processes that shaped and affected our local area (southeast Michigan) during the recent Ice Age.
- Distinguish between the most common types of glacial features (moraines, eskers, kames, kettleholes, erratics, striations, till, outwash, etc.) in our local area.
- Interpret the various lines, colors, symbols, and other miscellaneous markings on a United States Geological Survey quadrangle (b.k.a. a topographic map).
- Distinguish between the different type of deposition environments (fluvial, lacustrine, glacial, eolian, marine, etc.)
- Distinguish between the most common types of eolian (wind-related) landforms in both deserts and coastal regions.
- Distinguish between the most common types of landforms produced along shorelines (wave-cut cliffs and terraces, beaches, baymouth bars, tombolos, etc.)
- Distinguish between the most common types of karst landforms (solution by groundwater).
Currently no sections of this class are being offered.