Learning Outcomes

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The content, assignments, and assessments for Geology are aligned to the following learning outcomes. A full list of course learning outcomes can be viewed here: Geology Learning Outcomes.

Module 1: Science of Geology

Define geology as a science and identify methods used in its study.

  • Define the science of geology.
  • Identify and use scientific processes and the scientific methods as used by geologists and with other related scientific disciplines.
  • List tools and concepts commonly used by geologists.

Module 2: Rocks and the Rock Cycle

Identify and compare common rock forming minerals, mineral structures and mineral properties.

  • Describe the basic chemistry involved in mineral formation and structures.
  • Identify and classify common rock forming minerals.
  • Identify the most common elements in the Earth’s crust and their order of abundance.

Module 3: Rocks and the Rock Cycle

Identify processes of the rock cycle and the different rock types associated with each step.

  • Identify igneous rocks and the steps of the rock cycle related to their formation.
  • Identify sedimentary rocks and the steps of the rock cycle related to their formation.
  • Identify metamorphic rocks and the steps of the rock cycle related to their formation.

Module 4: Weathering and Soil Formation

Explain the formation of soils, different weathering processes and erosion.

  • Describe types and processes of weathering and erosion.
  • Describe and compare typical soil profiles and basic soil types
  • Discuss the importance of soil conservation.

Module 5: Plate Tectonics

Recognize the ongoing development of, evidence for, and large scale planetary effects of the Theory of Plate Tectonics.

  • Describe Continental Drift including supporting evidence.
  • Critique and interpret major types of evidence supporting the Theory of Plate Tectonics.
  • Describe different geological processes in relation to plate tectonics.

Module 6: Earth’s Interior

Describe the Earth including the characteristics of the various layers; learn the implications of the different layers.

  • Analyze and compare the properties, material, and layers within the Earth’s geosphere.
  • Understand how we know about the Earth’s interior and its magnetism.

Module 7: Crustal Deformation

Correlate structural geology as it pertains to crustal deformation.

  • Compare and contrast stress versus strain in the Earth’s crust.
  • Identify geologic structures created by deformation.

Module 8: Earthquakes

Interpret types, causes, effects, and scientific measurements of earthquakes and seismic waves.

  • Investigate the causes and common locations of earthquakes.
  • Compare and contrast properties and mechanics of different types of waves.
  • Define and compare magnitude versus intensity.
  • Understand the hazards of earthquakes and recognize our limited ability to predict seismic activity.

Module 9: Volcanoes

Explain the origin of volcanic features and landforms; as well as the causes and hazards associated with volcanic activity.

  • Describe and compare different volcano types.
  • Describe the processes that form volcanoes.
  • Classify and identify igneous features.
  • Describe major volcanic hazards and their potential effects.
  • Identify the various methods used to monitor volcanic activity.

Module 10: Mass Movement

Define and interpret the causes, types, effects and hazards of mass movement and land subsidence.

  • Identify and describe types of mass movement.
  • Identify the various causes of mass movement, as well as ways to diminish the damage caused. 1

Module 11: Hydrology

Understand the roles, processes and effects of streams and groundwater.

  • Describe and model processes involved throughout Earth’s hydrologic cycle.
  • Identify and describe channel types and sedimentary loads formed and carried by rivers and streams.
  • Describe critical components of groundwater.
  • Identify various geologic features associated with groundwater.
  • Recognize features associated with oceans and shorelines.

Module 12: Geological Resources

Identify common geological resources and discuss how people use them.

  • Learn common processes of geologic formation of rock and mineral resources.
  • Describe some of the extraction methods and identify different types of mining.
  • Describe geologic materials as current or potential energy resources and categorize sources as renewable or nonrenewable.


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