Westminster College

Instructor: Dr. Alan Goldin; Room: WH226
Office hours: MTWF 10 A.M.
Phone: 592-5015 (, 592-5208 until 10/1
Class: MWF 9 - 9:50 A.M. Champ Stage
Lab: W 2-5 P.M., Champ AV

Introduces the major concepts in the field of geology. Topics to be covered include rock and mineral identification, map reading, theory of plate tectonics, surface and subsurface hydrology, landform, geologic hazards, and environmental issues. The course provides "hands on" experiences. In addition to laboratory work, required off-campus field trips will include one or two trips on Saturday and/or Sunday.

Date Lecture Topic Chapter Reading* ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
8/25-9/3 Introduction, Formation of the Universe, 1, MG 1&2
Plate Tectonics, Rock Cycle

9/5-9/12 Minerals 2 **EXAM 1 Sept 15**

9/17-9/24 Igneous Rocks 3, MG p.18-28

9/26-10/3 Volcanoes and Volcanism 4

10/6-10/10 Weathering, Soils 5 **EXAM 2 Oct 15 **

10/17-10/24 Sedimentation and Sedimentary Rocks 6, MG p. 28-33

10/27-11/3 Metamorphism and Metamorphic Rocks 7

11/3-11/10 Geologic Time 8, MG p. 76-79
**EXAM 3 Nov 5 **

11/17-11/24 Faults, Folds & Mountains 9

12/1-12/5 Earthquakes 10


Required: Geology by Stanley Chernicoff and Donna Whitney, Third Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.

Required: Lab Manual for Physical Geology by Norris W. Jones. Third Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2000.

On Reserve: Study Guide to Geology

Peterson Guide to Rocks and Minerals by Robert F. Pough

Glossary of Geological Terms, American Geological Institute, 3rd Edition. 1983.

Missouri Geology

1. Four exams will be given: September 15, October 15, November 5, and December 8 during final exam week. These exams will be a combination of multiple choice, fill-in, definition, and essay. All exams will cover only material discussed since the previous exam, except as new material relates to previously tested material. NO (repeat, No) make-up exams will be given. The lowest exam grade will be dropped. If your choice is to drop the last exam, you must attend classes through December 6. Each missed class will result in a decrease of one point in your final grade. Exams and quizzes will include questions from lab, such as mineral and rock identification, topographic and geologic map interpretation.

2. A five-to-ten page paper on a geological topic covered this semester can replace an exam that is taken, unless an illness precludes your taking an exam. Under such circumstances, a doctor's note will be required. The paper is due no later than November 21. NO extensions. The topic MUST be approved by the instructor by October 31. Papers MUST also be approved by the Writing Lab. Submit their approval form with your paper. You cannot change your topic after October 31. Failure to get written approval will result in a one letter grade loss. Don't wait until the last minute to write the paper. The paper MUST be proofread and spellchecked. One point will be deducted for any more than two mistakes in proofreading or spelling.

3. A 20-minute quiz will be given approximately one week before each exam to see if you are prepared for the exam. You will be notified of these in class as well as on our web folder (GEO108). These will generally be short answer or short essay. The lowest quiz score will be dropped so that only three will count toward your grade. These quizzes combined will count the equivalent of an exam.

4. After each chapter, there is a multiple-choice quiz on the Houghton-Mifflin web site. You must take at least 8 of these. The best 8 will count as a quiz. The web quizzes are due NO LATER THAN the second class after we complete a chapter and WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED after this date. The quizzes should be graded online, if possible. If you don't have access to the web site, the quizzes will be on our web folder. For the latter students, please submit answers via e-mail.

5. Be sure to check our web folder regularly. I will communicate with you in this fashion outside of class.

6. Attending class is an essential part of your grade. You are allowed a maximum of three excused (or unexcused) absences. Each absence is worth 5 points. If you use <3 for the semester, your attendance grade will be 100. If you are absent 4 or more times, each of the absences will count its five-point grade loss, so that with four absences, your attendance grade will be 80. It is YOUR responsibility to give me a doctor's or coach's note for each and every absence. This note MUST be delivered no later than the next class or the absence counts as "unexcused." The note from the coach can be similar to the following: "Mary Jones is on the softball team. She missed your class on October 24 due to her participation in a softball game in Springfield, Illinois." It MUST be signed and dated. Similarly, the physician's note must be specific. It is YOUR responsibility to get this note delivered on time. It is also your responsibility to sign in for class each day as well as to deliver ALL assignments on time. Lateness will result in a 10-point grade loss immediately after class ends and for each 24 hours thereafter. We will discuss the outcome individually if a student has four or more excused absences.

Any student who feels that he or she may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me to arrange an appointment at his/her earliest convenience. At that time, we can discuss the course format, anticipate your needs, and explore possible accommodations. Westminster's ADA policy can be found at the College's website:


Three exams or two exams + paper 56%
3 class quizzes + 8 Web quizzes 16%
Six lab reports 18%
Attendance 10%

This lab schedule is tentative and subject to change. Students will be given at least one week's notice of any changes.

Date Topic Reading Lab Report

August 27 Topographic Maps 6 yes

Sept 3 Plate Tectonics 17 yes

Sept 10 Chemistry handouts no

Sept 17 Minerals 1,2 yes

Sept 24 Igneous Rocks 3 yes*

October 1 Film on Volcanism ("Dante's Peak) 3 yes

October 8 Field exercise on soils near campus Handouts no Determination of soil color, pH, texture

Oct 15 Sedimentary Rocks 4 yes*

Oct 22 Metamorphic and Sedimentary Rocks ID 5 yes*

Oct 29 Karst topography and limestone caves 9 no

Nov 5 Geology maps 16 yes

Nov 12 Geologic Time 13 yes

Nov 19 Earthquakes 15 yes

Dec 3 Review

* At least one of the lab reports on rocks is required.

Students who attend the field trips to Johnson's Shut-Ins/Elephant Rocks (9/23) and to Onondaga Cave (10/14) are excused from the labs on Igneous Rocks and Limestone Caves, respectively.

Six lab reports are required. If you choose to do more than six, the best six will be used in calculating your grade. Each report counts 3% of your grade. Most lab reports will come directly out of the lab manual. Just hand in the questions from the manual. We will discuss the exact questions which are required during lab.

Lab reports are due the next week after the lab. Late lab reports will NOT be accepted.


The primary purposes of this course are to provide students with an understanding of geologic principles and processes. The following six objectives support these purposes:

1. Competency in terrain analysis, particularly with respect to topographic quadrangle maps, geologic and/or stratigraphic maps, and other thematic maps.

2. Competency in rock formation processes and identification.

3. Understanding the importance of long periods of time ("geologic time") on formation events and what has occurred during "geologic time."

4. Familiarization with the relationships among weathering, soils, and landform development.

5. Familiarization with plate tectonics, diastrophism and volcanism and their varied actions and surface and subsurface configurations.

6. Familiarization with erosional agents, particularly water, wind, and ice, their processes and their characteristic surface configurations.