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GEOL 112 Evolution of the Earth

This course introduces and develops major concepts in our understanding of earth's history - geologic time, global atmospheric evolution and climate change, plate tectonics, evolution of life, and the causes of major extinctions. Readings, presentations, and laboratory activities will emphasize the scientific nature of evidence for ancient earth history.


Special information

First day attendance is mandatory.
4 Undergraduate credits

Effective January 12, 2009 to present

Meets graduation requirements for

Learning outcomes


  • Demonstrate mastery of the earth science concepts and vocabulary necessary for success in teaching General Science at the grades 5-8 level and for informed citizenship.
  • Demonstrate quantitative reasoning skills and competency with arithmetic and elementary statistics at a level appropriate for graduates of bachelors degree programs.
  • Identify and describe fossils from the 15-20 taxa most commonly preserved in the stratigraphic record.
  • Understand and explain the causes of the six major extinctions in earth history.
  • Understand and explain the forces behind global climate change, and why the current rate of anthropogenic climate change is unusual, if not unique, in earth history.
  • Understand and explain the use of radiogenic isotopes to determine the geologic age of a rock or fossil to a variety of age groups and audiences.
  • Understand and interpret processes of deposition and erosion as they are recorded in the stratigraphic record.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 3: Natural Sciences

  • Demonstrate understanding of scientific theories.
  • Formulate and test hypotheses by performing laboratory, simulation, or field experiments in at least two of the natural science disciplines. One of these experimental components should develop, in greater depth, students' laboratory experience in the collection of data, its statistical and graphical analysis, and an appreciation of its sources of error and uncertainty.
  • Communicate their experimental findings, analyses, and interpretations both orally and in writing.
  • Evaluate societal issues from a natural science perspective, ask questions about the evidence presented, and make informed judgments about science-related topics and policies.