Course Info


Course Info
Field Trip



This course is intended to give you a broad overview of the field of geology.  Geology is a highly interdisciplinary science, blending areas from the physical sciences such as physics and chemistry, with the biological sciences.  Major differences between geology and other sciences include the tremendous ranges of time (from seconds to billions of years) and physical scale (nanometers to thousands of kilometers) that are involved in the discipline.  Because on of the goals of geology is to explain the geologic evolution of the Earth, which obviously includes events in the past that we cannot visit, we must infer many geologic processes indirectly, rather than by direct observation.  Although this introduces sometimes great uncertainty, it also keeps the field lively with debate.


The required textbook is: "Physical Geology - Earth Revealed" by D. McGeary, C. Plummer, and D. Carlson, Fourth Edition, published by McGraw-Hill. 

It is highly recommended that you read the assigned chapters before each lecture.


Prof. Chuck DeMets.  Prof. DeMets' is a geophysicist who works on plate tectonic motions. 

Office hours: TBA.

Office: Room 121 Weeks Hall.  Phone: 608-262-8598

Prof. Clark Johnson.  Prof. Johnson is a geochemist who works on origin of the continents and the ages of rocks.

Office hours: TBA.

Office: Room 381 Weeks Hall.  Phone: 608-262-1710

You may correspond with the instructors via e-mail at:

Teaching Assistant:

Ms. Melissa Harper.  Ms. Harper works on the origin and evolution of volcanoes.

Office hours: 3:30-5:00 PM on Tuesday, 1:30-3:00 PM on Wednesday, or by appointment.

Room 329, Weeks Hall.



bulletFirst midterm exam:  20%
bulletSecond midterm exam:  20%
bulletFinal exam:  35%
bulletDiscussion exercises and quizzes:  25%

Exams will be primarily short answers, multiple choice, and short essay.  Material covered on the exams will tend to focus on material discussed in class, which builds on material covered in the textbook.   Make-up exams are not given.  If you miss one of the midterm exams, or you do not like the score you received, you may write a term paper to replace the missing grade.  You cannot substitute a paper for the final exam.  Any paper written will be substituted for your lowest exam grade at the end of the semester.  No papers will be accepted for extra credit other than substitution for the lowest grade. 

Papers must follow the required format.

The final date papers will be accepted is May 8, 2003 - No exceptions!

Also, attendance of Discussion sections is mandatory - you will not be able to attain a passing grade in the course if you do not attend Discussion sections and complete the exercises.

Field Trip:

There is an optional all-day field trip to the Baraboo region on Saturday, April 26, 2003.  Although not required, this is your chance to see geology in the real-world, and all who have gone on past trips report they learned a great deal and even had a good time.

Final Exam:

Topics covered in the final exam will focus on material discussed since the second midterm, but may also include some material from earlier in the course.  The university-scheduled exam time is Monday May 12, 2003, at 10:05 am to 12:05 pm.  Alternate exam times will not be offered.


Spring 2003 Semester