Earth History

GEOL 11042 (LER)

Course Description

This course introduces students to principles and concepts of historical geology, including geologic time, sedimentary rocks and processes, plate tectonics, and evolution. These concepts are utilized to develop a geologic history of eastern North America, which is used as a regional case study. The theory of evolution is discussed in detail, followed by a complete history of life, beginning in the Precambrian with single-celled organisms and ending with the appearance of the mammals in the Cenozoic. Mass extinctions, which punctuate the history of life, are placed within the context of evolutionary theory, and the causes for these mass extinctions are investigated. You will discover, among other things, that a meteor did not kill off the dinosaurs!


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Erosion has carved the beautiful formations in Arches National Park.  Photo by R. Feldmann.

Important Course Documents:

Syllabus TR

Syllabus MW

Honors Syllabus

Lab Syllabus

Term Paper Assignment and Guidelines MW

Term Paper Assignment and Guidelines TR

Honors Term Paper Assignment

Geologic Time Scale Walk

Website Comparison Assignment

See Books on Reserve at KSU Stark Library

Paleontologists studying fossils in the Museo del Seminario de Barcelona, Spain. Earth's History is recorded in rocks and fossils, which are deposited in museums all over the world.  Photo by B. van Bakel.


Earth History Field Trip

Lodi City Park

Students observe fossils and sedimentary rocks at the Lodi City Park, just outside of picturesque downtown Lodi.  Nearly all of the commonly preserved invertebrate animals can be found as fossils here.  Students look for fossils in the rocks in the creek (above) and in the cliffs exposed along the creek.  See the syllabus for time and date. Photo by R. Feldmann.