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Mountains, Rivers & Glaciers - GEOL 095 Z1 - Course Syllabus

Mountains, Rivers & Glaciers - GEOL 095 Z1 - Course Syllabus

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View Course: https://learn.uvm.edu/courselistsummer/course.php?term=201206&crn=60864

This course will introduce the dynamic processes that shape mountains. The focus will be the dramatic scenery of high alpine environments. How do high mountains rise and fall? Erosion by rivers and glaciers plays an important role in both building mountains and destroying them. Understanding mountains requires an interdisciplinary approach that includes plate tectonics as well as climate and erosion. This course will give students the tools to understand the landscape around them. (No prerequisite).
View Course: https://learn.uvm.edu/courselistsummer/course.php?term=201206&crn=60864

This course will introduce the dynamic processes that shape mountains. The focus will be the dramatic scenery of high alpine environments. How do high mountains rise and fall? Erosion by rivers and glaciers plays an important role in both building mountains and destroying them. Understanding mountains requires an interdisciplinary approach that includes plate tectonics as well as climate and erosion. This course will give students the tools to understand the landscape around them. (No prerequisite).

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03/17/2013

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MOUNTAINS,  RIVERS,  AND  GLACIERS  

GEO  095—July  2  to  July  27,  2011       Dr.  Devin  McPhillips             Office  hours:  by  appointment   Class  schedule:  MTWTh,  9-­‐11:45  am       dmcphill@uvm.edu     Course  Goals:  This  course  introduces  the  dynamic  Earth.  Its  goal  is  to  provide  you   with  the  tools  to  understand  how  mountains  work.  In  the  process,  it  ought  to  afford   you  an  understanding  of  Earth’s  atmosphere,  crust,  and  mantle  as  well  as  their   interactions.     Course  Evaluation:  Your  grade  will  be  determined  based  on  weekly  quizzes,  two   brief  classroom  presentations,  and  one  written  composition.  On  Mondays,  we  will   discuss  geology  in  the  news,  and  you  will  have  a  chance  to  earn  small  but  significant   extra  credit  for  bringing  in  relevant  news  stories.     Quizzes  (48%):  Quizzes  each  Monday  are  designed  to  keep  you  up  to  date   on  the  material  during  this  necessarily  fast  moving  class.  (first  Monday  is  knowledge   survey,  not  for  a  grade.)     Presentations  (20%):  Each  of  you  will  participate  in  two  5-­‐7  minute   presentations  to  the  class.  In  small  groups,  you  will  analyze  and  present  the  results   from  a  recent  scientific  article.  You  will  make  one  presentation  independently,   describing  the  important  features  of  a  landscape  as  seen  in  a  topographic  map,   geologic  cross-­‐section,  or  Google  Earth  panorama.  Evaluation  will  be  based  on   accuracy,  clarity,  and  organization.     Paper  (32%):  Write  a  five-­‐page  paper  with  citations  that  analyzes  the   sequence  of  geologic  events  that  formed  a  landscape  of  your  choice.  Include  an   image  or  other  representation  of  the  landscape.  Or,  choose  another  geologic  topic  of   interest  to  you.     Attendance:  According  to  the  Classroom  Code  of  Conduct,  students  are  expected  to   attend   all   regularly   scheduled   classes.   Excused   absences   are   allowed   for   athletic,   religious   and   medical   reasons,   according   to   UVM   Policy.   You   are   responsible   for   everything  noted  in  class,  including  changes  in  quiz  dates.       Textbook:  (tentative!)  Essentials  of  Geology,  3rd  Edition,  by  Stephen  Marshak.  W.W.   Norton  &  Company,  ©2009,  ISBN-­‐13:  9780393932386,  ISBN-­‐10:  0393932389.     Weekly  Topics:  In  general,  each  class  will  be  divided  between  lecture  and  more   hands-­‐on  activities.  Each  week  will  be  focused  on  a  particular  theme.   Week  1.    Plate  Tectonics.  This  week  emphasizes  the  big  picture.  The  motion   of  continental  and  oceanic  plates  is  the  most  important  control  on  the  formation  of   mountains.  We  will  examine  the  physical  and  chemical  structure  of  the  Earth  and   consider  how  solid  rock  moves.  Specific  topics  include  maps  and  GPS,  isostasy  and   gravity,  and  structure  and  petrology.  

Week  2.    Climate,  Weather,  and  Weathering.  Why  are  there  seasons?  Why   are  there  Ice  Ages?  We  will  look  at  the  changing  conditions  at  Earth’s  surface  and   their  causes  at  both  long  and  short  timescales.  Then  we  will  transition  to  the  role   surface  conditions  play  in  breaking  down  rocks  and  forming  soil.  Specific  topics   include  the  solar  system  and  Milankovitch  cycles,  the  long-­term  climate  record,   weather  patterns  and  El  Nino,  chemical  weathering  and  the  carbon  cycle.   Week  3.    Hillslopes,  Rivers,  and  Glaciers.  How  does  water  cut  through   rock?  This  week  focuses  on  what  happens  at  Earth’s  surface.  How  do  rivers  and   glaciers  work?  What  evidence  to  they  leave  behind?  Specific  topics  include   superposition  and  sedimentology,  the  mechanics  of  hillslopes,  rivers,  and  glaciers,  and   the  formation  of  landscapes.   Week  4.    Tectonic  Geomorphology.  How  does  the  interplay  between   behavior  of  surface  processes  and  tectonics  shape  the  landscape  in  active   mountains?  We  will  focus  on  a  few  specific  examples,  perhaps  the  Andes  and  the   Himalaya.  Specific  topics  include  the  measurement  of  rates  in  nature  and  the  example   landscapes.  

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