Apr 19, 2018  
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PHS 115 - Physical Geology: The Dynamic Earth

Why does Binghamton have such steep hills and flat valleys?  Why do we find such a great variety of rocks in our backyard?  Why doesn't Binghamton have more earthquakes or volcanoes?  If you have ever wondered about these questions and others like them, this course will help you to discover the answers to them.  This course will show you how geologists collect information, analyze and interpret observations.  Course content emphasizes the differences between rocks and minerals and what those differences mean to our region.  Local examples of streams, the effects of glaciers, volcanoes, earthquakes and why mountains and oceans form.  Other topics may be substituted in appropriate parts of the course depending on exciting developments on our dynamic planet.  You will gain working knowledge of the geologic wonders that surround you at home and when you travel.  Laboratory activities in learning communities allows students to gain a hands-on understanding of geologic concepts and processes.

Credits: 4
3 Class Hours, 3 Laboratory Hours
Course Profile
Learning Outcomes of the Course:

Upon successful completion of this course the student will be able to:

1.  Describe the composition of the Earth, especially the crust.
2.  Distinguish between a mineral and a rock and describe characteristics of each.
3.  Describe the formation of the three major rock types; list the names and characteristics of some common examples of each type, especially those of local or state importance.
4.  List the agents of erosion and various formations resulting from erosion and deposition, especially relating to mass wasting, streams, glaciers and groundwater.
5.  Distinguish major types of volcanoes and volcanic eruptions and their effects on humans.
6.  Describe the causes, detection, prediction and effects of earthquakes.
7.  Construct a model of the Earth's interior based on evidence from seismic waves.
8.  Describe and diagram the main types of faults and folds and list the forces causing them.
9.  Describe the Plate Tectonic theory and give supporting evidence; describe major plate tectonic events in the Earth's history.
10.  Explain the relationship between plate tectonics and volcanism, earthquakes and mountain building.

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