An Introduction to


Geology 201: Physical Geology
Semester 131, 2013
Room: 3-109

Lecture hours: 2

Practical/Lab hours: 3
Lab: Sun. 14:10 – 16:50
Class time: Sun & Tues 11:00 – 11:50
Instructor’s Names: Dr. Michael A. Kaminski, Dr. Khalid Al Ramadan
Office: Geology Lab building, 26-102

Tarbuck & Lutgens - Earth (10th Edition). Pearson International
Other References: Will be distributed as needed.
Field Trip: One day trip to visit the Paleogene (time to be announced).

Geology 201: Geology Topics
Module 1
Introduction to Geology (Week 1)
Sept. 1
Plate tectonics 2
Sept. 8
Minerals 3
Sept. 15
Igneous rocks & Volcanoes 4
Sept. 22
Weathering & Soil 5
Sept. 29
Module 2
Sedimentary rocks 6
Oct. 6
Metamorphic rocks 7
Oct. 20
Geologic time 8
Oct. 27
Crustal deformation 9
Nov. 3
Mass Wasting 10
Nov. 10
Module 3
Groundwater (Dr. Al Shaibani) 11
Nov. 17
Deserts & Winds 12
Nov. 24
Shorelines 13
Dec. 1
Earth through Time 14
Dec. 8
Energy & Mineral Resources 15
Dec. 15

The science of Geology

Geology is the science that pursues an
understanding of planet Earth
Physical geology - examines the materials
composing Earth and seeks to understand
the many processes that operate beneath
and upon its surface
 Historical geology - seeks an
understanding of the origin of Earth and
its development through time

The science of Geology
Geology, people, and the environment
There are many important relationships 
between people and the natural
Some of the problems and issues 
addressed by geology involve natural
hazards, resources, world population
growth, and environmental issues

The science of Geology  Some historical notes about geology The nature of Earth has been a focus of study for centuries  Catastrophism  Uniformitarianism and the birth of modern geology  .

no one would have ever dreamed that there were successive epochs in the formation of the globe. Cuvier . that without them.Founders of Geology Catastrophism: • Postulated there were many wholesale extinctions of millions of organisms caused by violent oscillations in the sea • Noted that fossils in younger strata were more like modern organisms • Successive extinctions must have eliminated many unknown species Baron Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) "Why has not anyone seen that fossils alone gave birth to a theory about the formation of the earth.G.” -.

Established “Plutonism”: Believed rocks were formed by fire. Recognized change on the Earth’s surface (Surface processes are active) Developed a cyclic view of Earth “No vestige of a beginning.Founders of Geology 1726-1797 James Hutton Father of Modern Geology Edinburgh physician & geologist. no prospect of an end”. .

By observing geologic processes in operation around him. Hutton could infer the origin of features observed in rocks. . "The mind seemed to grow giddy by looking so far into the abyss of time.".

• uniformity of causes • uniformity of intensity of change “The past history of our globe must be explained by what can be seen to be happening now”.Founders of Geology Hutton laid the foundation for Charles Lyell’s uniformitarianism. (Sir Archibald Geike 1835-1924) . “Present is the key to the past”.

Founders of Geology Geological past has been different than today: Atmosphere Life Meteorite Impacts Elevation of Continents Climate Rate of change and intensity varied. . but processes are the same.

Geologic time   Geologists are now able to assign fairly accurate dates to events in Earth history Relative dating and the geologic time scale  Relative dating means that dates are placed in their proper sequence or order without knowing their age in years .

The Geological Timescale Telling Geological Time (Chapter 9) .

Geologic time  The magnitude of geologic time Involves vast times – millions or billions of years  An appreciation for the magnitude of geologic time is important because many processes are very gradual  .

Geological Time on a 12-hr clock .

org 16 .) International Commission on Stratigraphy www.stratigraphy.New abbreviated Reference Jim Ogg (Purdue Univ.

The nature of scientific inquiry    Science assumes the natural world is consistent and predictable Goal of science is to discover patterns in nature and use the knowledge to make predictions Scientists collect “facts” through observation and measurements .

The nature of scientific inquiry  How or why things happen are explained using a Hypothesis – a tentative (or untested) explanation  Theory – a well-tested and widely accepted view that the scientific community agrees best explains certain observable facts  .

The nature of scientific inquiry  Scientific methods   Scientific method involves gathering facts through observations and formulation of hypotheses and theories There is no fixed path that scientists follow that leads to scientific knowledge .

A view of Earth   Earth is a planet that is small and selfcontained Earth’s four spheres Hydrosphere  Atmosphere  Biosphere  Solid Earth  .

Earth as a system    Earth is a dynamic planet with many interacting parts or spheres Parts of the Earth system are linked Characterized by processes that Vary on spatial scales from fractions of millimeter to thousands of kilometers  Have time scales that range from milliseconds to billions of years  .

Earth as a system  The Earth system is powered by the Sun that drives external processes in the Atmosphere  Hydrosphere  At Earth’s surface  .

Earth’s cycles .

and mountains . earthquakes.Earth as a system  The Earth system is also powered by the Earth’s interior  Heat remaining from the formation of the Earth and heat that is continuously generated by radioactive decay powers the internal processes that produce volcanoes.

The rock cycle: part of the Earth system   The loop that involves the processes by which one rock changes to another Illustrates the various processes and paths as earth materials change both on the surface and inside the Earth .

Founders of Geology William Smith (1769-1839): explained the Rock Cycle• principle of fossil succession• Considered the “Father of Stratigraphy”• .

Smith’s “Rock Cycle” .

Rock Cycle Many processes  are involved: Uplift  Erosion  Weathering  Burial  Lithification  Metamorphism  .

The face of Earth  Earth’s surface has two principal divisions Continents  Ocean basins   Significant difference between the continents and ocean basins is their relative levels .

Continents & Oceans .

The face of Earth  Continents Most prominent features are linear mountain belts  Shields   Ocean basins Ocean ridge system – the most prominent topographic feature on Earth  Deep-ocean trenches  .

Continents & oceans .

Early evolution of Earth  Origin of planet Earth Most researchers believe that Earth and the other planets formed at essentially the same time from the same primordial material as the Sun  Nebular hypothesis   Layered structure developed by chemical segregation early in the formation of Earth .

.Age of the Universe ~12-18 b. Kitt Peak National Obs. Toronto). The Coma Cluster of Galaxies O. K. Shelton (U.y. Lopez-Cruz and I.

6 b.y. The Nebula hypothesis Gravitational collapse of a gaseous cloud .Formation of the Solar System 4.

Particles to planet original artwork by Gary Hincks .

Earth’s internal structure  Earth’s internal layers can be defined by Chemical composition  Physical properties   Layers defined by composition Crust  Mantle  Core  .


Earth’s internal structure  Four main layers of Earth are based on physical properties and hence mechanical strength Lithosphere  Asthenosphere  Mesosphere  Core  .

Earth’s Crust & Asthenosphere .

Dynamic Earth  The theory of plate tectonics Involves understanding the workings of our dynamic planet  Began in the early part of the twentieth century with a proposal called continental drift – the idea that continents moved about the face of the planet  .

Empirical evidence of continental drift The “Menard Fit”:  continents show very little overlap or gaps at their margins when the plates are reconstructed like a jigsaw puzzle on the surface of the globe .

called plate tectonics. has now emerged that provides geologists with the first comprehensive model of Earth’s internal workings Plate boundaries  All major interactions among individual plates occurs along their boundaries .Dynamic Earth  The theory of plate tectonics   Theory.

Major Plates .

Major Plates .

resulting in upwelling of material from the mantle to create new seafloor  Convergent boundary – two plates move together with subduction of oceanic plates or collision of two continental plates  .Dynamic Earth  Plate boundaries Divergent boundary – two plates move apart.

Plate Boundaries .

located where plates grind past each other without either generating new lithosphere or consuming old lithosphere  Changing boundaries .new plate boundaries are created in response to changes in the forces acting on the lithosphere  .Dynamic Earth  Plate boundaries Transform boundaries .

Divergent and Transform boundaries .