Earth & Env. Sciences 1110

Physical Geology

Spring, 2012

Dr. Stephen A. Nelson  

Office: Room 208 Blessey Hall

e-mail -

Office Hours MWF 1:00 -3:00 PM

Office Phone - 504-862-3194
and by appointment.  


Course Goals and Objectives:

The goals of this course are to enable the student to understand the Earth and Earth processes so that the student will be able to:

  1. Read the landscape for the story of its evolution, development, hazards, potential and likely future given common Earth surface processes.
  2. Interpret hazards and resource opportunities posed by geologic environments created through plate tectonic and Earth surface processes such as earthquakes, volcanoes, river valley evolution, coastal processes, and climatic change.
  3. Describe the interaction and interdependence of the geologic environment and human activity at the societal level.
  4. Participate meaningfully in public discussion of geoscience issues correctly using the methods and data of science.      

Textbook: Earth, Portrait of a Planet 4th Edition by Stephen Marshak

Also available in digital editions from CourseSmart -

Course Grading: Your grade in the course will be based on the following distribution of work:

Lecture Exam 1 25%
Lecture Exam 2 25%
Quizzes 15%
Final Exam 35%

The dates of the exams are given in the schedule below.  These dates are fixed.  Quizzes will occur  randomly throughout the course.  These will consist of short questions on material recently covered in lectures.  Two quiz grades will be dropped before determining your final quiz grade.

NOTE: There will be NO Make-up Exams. All exams and quizzes are cumulative, that is they could involve any material covered up to the point of the exam or quiz.

Lecture notes and new announcements that might take place during the course can be found on the  EENS 1110 homepage at:   Note that this web site is accesssible from any internet connection and does not require you to conntect through Blackboard.  Check back with this page often, as material on the web page is updated on a regular basis.

PDF versions of all Lecture PowerPoints will be posted on Blackboard, but not until after the lectures are given.  These will be found in the Course Documents section on Blackboard.


Tentative Schedule of Lectures and Reading Assignments
(All readings from Marshak)




Jan 17 Planet Earth Chapters 1 & 2
Jan 19 Plate Tectonics Chapters 3 & 4
Jan 24 Plate Tectonics Chapter 4
Jan 26 Minerals Chapter 5
Jan 31 Magmas & Igneous Rocks Chapter 6
Feb 2 Volcanic Eruptions Chapter 9
Feb 7 Sediments, Soils and Sedimentary Rocks Chapter 7
Feb 9 Sedimentary Rocks Chapter 7
Feb 14 Metamorphism and Metamorphic Rocks Chapter 8
Feb 16 FIRST MIDTERM EXAM Chapters 1 - 9
Feb 23 Earthquakes and the Earth's Interior   Chapter 10
Feb 28 Earthquakes and the Earth's Interior Chapter 10
Mar 1 Deformation of Rocks Chapter 11
Mar 6 Deformation of Rocks Chapter 11
Mar 8 Fossils, Evolution and Geologic Time Chapter 12
Mar 13 & 15 SPRING BREAK  
Mar 20 Geologic Time Chapter 12
Mar 22 Energy Resources Chapter 14
Mar 27 Mineral Resources Chapter 15
Mar 29 SECOND MIDTERM EXAM Chapters 1- 15
Apr 3 Mass Movements Chapter 16
Apr 5 Streams Chapter 17
Apr 10 Streams, Oceans and Coasts Chapter 17 & 18
Apr 12 Oceans and Coasts Chapter 18
Apr 17 Groundwater, Earth's Atmosphere Chapter 19
Apr 19 Deserts Chapter 21
Apr 24 Glaciers Chapter 22
Apr 26 Glaciers Chapter 22
May 1 Global Change Chapter 23
May 10 FINAL EXAMINATION 1:00 PM Chapters 1 - 23

Click HERE for a PDF version of this file

Back to EENS 1110 Home Page