GEOLOGY 107 Our Dynamic Planet Fall 2005

Instructor: Seth Stein

Teaching Assistants:



This course will discuss theories of the major processes of Earth dynamics: plate tectonics and internal convection; the continents and their history of breakup, drifting, and collisions; the ocean basins and their formation by seafloor spreading and their relation to upwelling in the mantle; and other important Earth phenomena will be related to plate tectonics, such as earthquakes, volcanoes, biological evolution, and climate changes.


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2005 Class powerpoints:

Introduction to course material and grading

Lecture topic 1: Introduction to Plate Tectonics

Lecture topic 2: Evolution of the Solar System

Lecture topic 3: Evolution of the Earth

Lecture topic 4: Minerals

Lecture topic 5: Igneous Rocks

Lecture topic 6: Sedimentary & Metamorphic Rocks

Lecture topic 7: Seismology & Earth's Interior

Lecture topic 8: Ridges & Transforms

Lecture topic 9: Driving forces & continental evolution

Supplementary topic: The October Pakistan earthquake

2003 Course Notes:


2 tests (25% each), weekly (Wed) quizzes (15% total), lab exercises (15%), presentation (10%), presentation evaluation (10%)

Dates to remember: test 1 - Oct. 26; test 2 - Nov. 23; quizzes - every Wednesday (except during the 1st week and test days); presentations - every Friday (except during the 1st week and the week of a test)
Makeups of lab exercises, quizzes, presentations and tests require advance arrangements through Office of Studies.

Course Calendar (pdf)


Earth science plays a role in many important societal issues. This courses focuses on the underlying science relevant to some of these. Via class presentations we will explore several issues, some of which go beyond what we have time to address in class. Everyone in class will be assigned a short paper (5 pages + references) and class presentation (5 minutes) on one of the issues. These should explain the issue, a proposed action, the advantages and disadvantages of this action, and an argument for or against it. Your presentation should argue for the proposal or a modified version, or against it and present an alternative.

presentation issues


Federal disaster insurance:

Jake Carter's

Kyle Willner's

Rebuilding Thai Hotels:

Oriana Fu's

Carin Huang's

Yucca Mountain:

Jun Yong Bang's

Manned Space Exploration:

Nishith Patel's

Lila Cummings'

Kyoto Protocol:

Claire Capshew's

Daniela Sol's

Relocating near Vesuvius:

Kevin Rodrigues's

Jennifer Yao's

Rebuilding New Orleans:

Kristen Clarke's

Allison Manker's

Auto Fuel Economy:

Hillary Green's

Nicholas Luebker's

ANWR Drilling:

Carling Spelhuag's

Andrew Maas's

Laboratory Exercises:

Laboratory exercises will be posted the week that they are performed. Please bring a calculator with you. All work will be completed in the lab period. Attendence is mandatory. Make-ups are ONLY allowed with advance arrangements through the Office of Studies.

Extra Credit:

Opportunity 1:

The enormous destruction of hurricanes is well known to the people in Lousiana, Florida and other states along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast. However, it has been argued recently that global warming may be responsible for the increase in number and strength of hurricanes. In a short paper (5 pages + references), explain how hurricanes work, how global warming may affect them, and the arguments for and against this hypothesis. This extra credit assignment is worth one quiz and will be added to your quiz total.
this assignment is due by 5:00pm on Monday, November 28. Electronic submissions are acceptable. If submitting via email, please email your paper to both TA's!

Opportunity 2:

The ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum show the dangers of living close to a large, active volcano. The Field Musuem has an exhibit of artifacts from the eruption in 79 CE. For this assignment, you need to go to the field museum and see the exhibit. Then write a 4-5 page paper on your observations and how they relate to issues covered in class.
Field Museum Pompeii Site
The musuem hours are 9am-5pm daily. The last admission is at 4pm. Ticket prices are $14.00 with a student ID ($13 if you live in Chicago). Mondays and Tuesdays are 'discount days'; admission is $7.00 with ID.
This assignment is due by 7:00pm Monday, Dec 5, 2005. To receive credit, you must turn in your admission ticket as proof. No reproductions will be accepted! This assignment is worth one quiz grade.


Exploring Earth
J. Davidson, W. Reed, and P. Davis, 2002, 2nd ed.

WWW Resources:

Continental Drift:
Geologic Time:
Plate Tectonics:


Rocks and Minerals:

Space Missions and the Solar System:

Email the Professor seth AT
Email the TA schramm AT

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