General Geology

Geoscience 100

Fall 2009

Capsule Description:

I, II, SS; 3 cr (P-E). Geologic processes, the structure and history of the earth, minerals, and rocks. Discussion section. P: Not open to those who have had Geol 101, 106 or 109. Open to Fr.

Purpose of this Course:

This course will introduce you to the materials and processes that compose and shape the Earth from its innermost core, to the surficial environment in which we live.  You will learn why tectonic plates shift gradually or suddenly causing earthquakes and why volcanoes erupt where they do. Moreover, you will gain a perspective on the vast array of tools and practices used by geologists to understand the dynamic planet we live on.



Prof. John Valley

Room 345

Weeks Hall

12:00 noon - 1:00 PM

Tue. & Thur.

Prof. Kurt Feigl

Room A248

Weeks Hall

11:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Tue. & Thu.

Dayi Ortiz
discussion sections:
 301, 303, 304, 311,
312, and 313

Room 347

 Weeks Hall

    2:15-3:15 PM Tue.

   1:15-3:15 PM Thur.

Scott K. Johnson

discussion sections:
302, 305, 309, 310,
 315, and 318

Room 417

 Weeks Hall

12:00-1:00 PM Mon

10:45-11:45 Tues.

12:00-1:00 Wed.



Each student is required to attend two (2) lectures per week, one on Tuesday and one Thursday, in Room AB20 of Weeks Hall:
Lecture 1 is 9:55-10:45 AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Lecture 2 is 1:20-2:10 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Discussion Sections

Each student is required to attend one period of discussion per week in Room A220, Weeks Hall. This room is located on south side of the building, on the second floor of Weeks Hall on the corridor overlooking the globe. You must attend the discussion section for which you enrolled unless you have prior permission from your teaching assistant.

List of Discussion Sections


The syllabus, including reading assignments and exercises, is posted here.


Required Resources

Textbook: Understanding Earth, 5th edition (2007), by Grotzinger, Jordan, Press and Siever.  Freeman, BFW Publishers.

Almost all of this book will be assigned during the term, as described in the syllabus.  A basic knowledge of the assigned parts, not all of which will be covered in lecture, is essential for your understanding of the subject.  The book is available at the University Book Store. The accompanying CD is not required.

New: $105 from Amazon.
Used: $50 from Amazon. 

Lab Manual: General Geology Lab Manual, Department of Geoscience.  
Purchase from a teaching assistant for $10. Make check payable to “GeoClub”.
Clicker: Iclicker remote unit

The response system will be used in every lecture, and you are responsible for bringing your Iclicker to class and for making sure that it is in good operating order with batteries. To protect the Iclicker, place a piece of (transparent ;-) tape over the serial number. It is also a good idea to write your e-mail address on the clicker. Since your grade for class participation depends on the proper use of the clicker, it is in your best interest to care for it properly.

Purchase new from bookstore.
Clicker Registration
You must register the einstruction unit at

How to register your Iclicker.

Recommended Resources

Lecture Notes
We will attempt to post lecture notes on Learn@UW on the day of the lecture, or shortly hereafter. This service will continue as long as lecture attendance and participation do not suffer.
Interactive learning exercises
An on-line learning center where you can undertake interactive learning exercises and quiz yourself. It is organized by the publisher of the textbook.


Letter grades of A, AB, B, BC, C, D, or F will be based on a curve that determines the students' relative standing with respect to other students.  The overall curve and an absolute standard of achievement, as judged by the professors, will both be factors in grade allocation. Letter grades assigned to the mid-term test have only relative significance; the number grade is what will be figured into the course final grade. Thus it is important to hand in all assignments. The weighting will be as follows:

Class Participation
The lectures, discussions and reading assignments, while roughly covering the same material, also provide unique aspects of the course.  Students must display competence in both lecture and discussion to pass the course.  Therefore, attendance is required. Since participation will be assessed using clickers during lectures, bring your clicker to each lecture.


Discussion Section
Discussion and group learning will be encouraged in sections. However, all written assignments are to be individual work, unless expressly stated otherwise by the instructor. If text is paraphrased or copied from another person or source, it must be referenced. Assignments will be due either at the end of your discussion section or at the beginning of your discussion section the following week.  The TA will announce the due date for the assignments on a weekly basis.   Discussion section assignments will be scored out of 10 points.  Late assigments will be accepted up to one week after the due date.  Late assignments will be scored out of 5 points and after one week a score of zero (0) will be assigned.   You must attend the discussion section for which you enrolled unless you have prior permission from your TA.  If you do not attend discussion, your assigment for that week will not be accepted and a score of zero (0) will be assigned.

Midterm Exam
One 50-minute mid-term exam is scheduled as indicated on the schedule. The exams will be a combination of T/F, multiple choice and short answer questions.  A short essay question may be included.  They will be, in part, computer-graded so be prepared and bring #2 pencils to the exams. No books, notes or electronics may be used during the exam. A make-up exam will not be provided unless requested 24 hours in advance.

Final Exam
The 2-hour final exam will be about half on the new material since the mid-term and half cumulative overview. No books, notes or electronics may be used during the exam. A make-up exam will not be provided unless requested 24 hours in advance.

Total:  3 credits


How to request an accommodation