GEOL& 101: Introduction to Physical Geology

Class Program
Weekly Contact Hours
Course ID
Meets Degree Requirements For
Natural Science with Lab

Study the geologic processes that shape the earth. Determine how the earth works and its history by applying principles of geology, chemistry and physics. Topics include plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, rocks, minerals, glaciers, rivers, geologic maps and the structure of the earth. May include field trips. Includes laboratory. Prerequisites: MATH 093 or higher.

Grading Basis

MATH 93 or higher

Course Learning Outcomes

Core Topics


  1. absolute and relative geologic time
  2. principles of relative geologic age
  3. origin of earth in the solar system
  4. radioactive isotopes in minerals and rocks (used for measuring ages)
  5. minerals
  6. rocks
  7. the rock cycle
  8. weathering
  9. erosion and mass wasting
  10. sediment deposition, sedimentary structures, and stratigraphic sequences
  11. streams
  12. floods (optional)
  13. groundwater (optional)
  14. glaciers
  15. climate change in earth history
  16. earthquakes
  17. volcanoes
  18. plate tectonics
  19. earth’s interior
  20. (optional) earth resources