Course Description: 

The course will review the formation processes of minerals, rocks and fossils. An emphasis will be placed on internal and external processes that continuingly contribute to change in the surface of the planet. These processes include weathering, volcanoes, earthquakes, rock cycle, and the water cycle. 

Course Code: SCI201

Credit hours: 3

Pre-Requisites: None

Course Goals: 

Appreciate the Earth’s complicated system. Identify and understand many of the interactions between the major components on the planet such as mountains, oceans, rivers, humans. 

  • Learn the basic geologic principles that are applied in the interpretation of earth’s history and the ages of its rocks and minerals. 
  • Describe observations that describe and identify earth materials (e.g., minerals, rock, surface outcrops, etc.).  Draw logical and scientific conclusions from observations about the history of said observations. 
  • Appreciate the different physical and biological components of the Earth and become aware of some of the effects of human activities on the environment. 

Course Outlines: 

  • Minerals and Rocks:  composition, categories and conditions of their formation.  
  • Layering of the Earth: types and characters of the different layers of the earth. 
  • Plate tectonics: Various paleomagnetic, seismic, and palaeontologic pieces of evidence that allow understanding of the geologic history of the earth.  
  • Seafloor bathymetry, seafloor spreading, and continental drift. Included is the formation of oceans, islands and volcanic eruptions  
  • Rock cycle and main rock classes: formation of the three main rock classes (igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary) and the natural geologic processes that may transform them from one type to another. Each rock class will be studied in detail in terms of their forming environment, mineral composition, description, classification, and textures. 
  • Geologic time: the two aspects of geologic time- relative time and numerical time- and the principles and tools of their determination. Fossils, field observations, and radioactive isotopes will be studied as some of the most important tools for geologic time construction. 
  • Rock deformation: Including faults and folds this module explains rock deformation in a geologic context. Causes and types of rock structures that develop with deformation are included in the discussion.  
  • Hydrologic cycle: The cycle of water in natural reservoirs and the processes and effects associated with water circulation through these reservoirs. Included in the hydrologic cycle are underground water, running surface water along with oceans and glaciers  
  • Mass movements: The various types of downslope movements that create movements, forces that cause formation and the hazards associated with them.