Understanding Planet Earth (EPSC 201) (www.eps.mcgill.ca/~courses/c201_fall) Instructor: A.E. (Willy) Williams-Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org) Textbooks: Earth: Portrait of a Planet or Essentials of Geology by S. Marshak Introduction The basic objective of the course is to help you think about our planet and understand how it works. The principal focus will be the solid part of the Earth, which is the subject of the field of study referred to as Geology. We all have questions about the Earth and some of yours may be: • How old is the Earth and how did it form? • Why do continents move? • Why are there volcanoes and why are some violent and others passive? • What causes earthquakes? • How are mountains made and destroyed? • How did life evolve on Earth, and why do mass extinctions occur? During the course of this semester, I hope to be able to answer these and other questions for you.
Course Outline Week 1: From the Big Bang to the birth of the planet (Ch 1) Week 2: Earthquakes and the internal structure of the Earth (Ch2, 10 Int C) Week 3: The evidence that continents drift, grow and break apart (Ch 3) Week 4: Plate tectonics – an overarching theory for Earth evolution (Ch 4) Week 5: An introduction to Earth materials – minerals and rocks (Ch 5, Int A, B) Week 6: Magmas and igneous rocks – volcanism and plutonic activity (Ch 6, 9) Week 7: Sediments and sedimentary rocks (Ch 7) Week 8: Metamorphism and metamorphic rocks (Ch 8, Int B) Week 9: Faulting, folding and mountain building (Ch 11) Week 10: Fossils, time and the history of the Earth (Ch 12, 13, Int D) Week 11: Fossil fuels, nuclear power, and geothermal energy (Ch 14) Week 12: Metallic minerals and our global needs of metals (Ch15) Evaluation The course mark will be compiled from the results of a class test (30%) held Wednesday, October 23rd, 10:00 – 11:30, and a final exam (70%). In the event that your performance is better in the final exam than in the mid-term test, your mark in the final exam will constitute your course mark.