Geoscience 102: Introduction to Earth Science, Spring 2012

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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Steve Dutch     Laboratory Sciences 463    Phone: 465-2246    e-mail:
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DaysDates Lecture Topic Reading
Part I: The Solid Earth
TR Jan. 24-26 How the Earth Works 1, 7
T Jan. 31 What the Earth is Made of: Minerals 2
R Feb. 2 What the Earth is Made of: Rocks 3
T Feb. 7 Soils, Weathering, Ground Water 4, 5
R Feb. 9 Erosion, Landscape Evolution 5
TR Feb. 14-16 Glaciers and Ice Ages 6
T Feb. 21 Earthquakes and Seismology 8
R Feb. 23 Volcanoes 9
T Feb. 28Plate Tectonics7
RMar. 1Midterm I 
TMar. 6Mountain Building and Crustal Movements7
R Mar. 8 A Brief History of Planet Earth 10, 11
 Mar. 11-18Spring Break 
TMar. 20Resources from the Earth 
Part II: The Oceans
RT Mar. 22-27 Ocean Currents and Tides 12
RMar. 29The Deep Ocean Floors 13
TApr. 3Shorelines 13
RApr. 5Midterm II
Part III: The Atmosphere
TApr. 10Basic Properties of the Atmosphere14
RApr. 12Clouds and Moisture14
T Apr. 17Weather Systems and Severe Storms15
RApr. 19Climate and Climate Change16
Part IV: Earth in the Universe
TApr. 24The Inner Solar System 17
RApr. 26The Outer Solar System 17
TRMay 1-3 Stars and Galaxies 17

Final Exam:  May 8, Tuesday 10:30-12:30 MAC 109

Field trip will be held Saturday, April 14.

Text: Merali and Skinner, Visualizing Earth Science

Midterm I 50 points   A 180+
Midterm II 50 points   AB 170-179
Final 100 points   B 160-169
Field Trip 10 points   BC 150-159
Attendance, Participation 10 points   C 140-149
Total 200 points   D 120-139

Exams are multiple choice, 1 pt. per question.
Because test questions are freely available to all (see below), grade breaks are firm, especially C/D and D/F.

General Course Expectations

Exam Questions

The test bank is available on line. These questions are provided as a convenience to students who want to know what sorts of questions I ask. Please note:

Field Trip

Field trips leave from the Green Parking lot at 8:00 on the scheduled date and return about 4:15 P.M.

General Field Trip Guidelines

  • You must join the trip at UW-Green Bay, not at one of the stops.
  • Clothing should be casual. Long sleeves and trousers are recommended, along with tennis shoes. Wear something you can get dirty. There is no strenuous hiking.
  • Bring a lunch. There will be rest stops at gas stations where you can buy something.
  • Bring plenty of fluids. Even on a cold day you can get surprisingly dehydrated.
  • No alcoholic beverages are permitted.
  • There are ticks in the brush at a couple of stops. Long sleeves and trousers are recommended. Check yourself carefully.
  • Because of insurance concerns, students may not bring private vehicles on the trip. You must use the transportation provided.
  • Students who live in the Crivitz area may be dropped off there after the field trip is over. You are solely responsible for your ride arrangements.
  • If you are excused from the trip for work or some other valid reason, I will supply an alternative way to get the field trip points. This is not a substitute for the trip.

Basic Goals of the Course (What we are Trying to Do)


  • Understand the interactions between the solid earth, hydrosphere and atmosphere
  • Know some of the important mineral and rock materials that make up the surface of the Earth
  • Understand how water and ice modify the surface of the earth
  • Know why earthquakes occur where they do, and how they endanger human life and property.
  • Know why volcanoes occur where they do, and how they endanger human life and property.
  • Understand how mineral resources form, and understand their finite extent
  • Be able to describe plate tectonics and its connection to earthquakes, volcanoes, and mountain building
  • Understand geologic time and know some of the major milestones in the evolution of the Earth
  • Understand ocean currents and tides and why they occur
  • Know how oceans affect shorelines and humans that live near them
  • Know the overall makeup of the atmosphere and the meaning of temperature, pressure, and humidity
  • Know the principal types of clouds and how rain, snow, and hail occur
  • Understand fronts, air masses, severe storms, and the issues involved in the climate change controversy
  • Understand rocky, gas giant, and ice planets
  • Understand the nature of stars and galaxies and the distance scale of the universe

Reasoning Skills

  • Be able to follow chains of ideas and events
  • Be able to connect ideas from several different subject areas
  • Be able to learn new material and connect it to previously learned ideas so that you can recall it
  • Understand how geoscientists decipher the history of the earth
  • Understand why geoscientists believe the earth is ancient and how they find the ages of rocks
  • Understand why geoscientists believe in plate tectonics
  • Understand how astronomers determine the distance to stars and galaxies.

View the Field Trip Guide
View Class notes and Visuals
Access Test Bank
Return to Professor Dutch's home page

Created 15 Dec 1996 Last Update 24 January 2012

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