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Blinn College • Distance Education • Natural Science • Geology - GEOL

Historical Geology GEOL-1404

  • Summer I 2013

  • Section SECTION_N01 CRN-30499

  • 4 Credits

  • 06/03/2013 to 08/06/2013

  • Modified 05/28/2013

Meeting Times

Wednesday, 5:55 PM to 7:50 PM, Rm. G-216, Bryan Campus (second floor of Bookstore Building)

Contact Information

Professor: Dr. Amanda Palmer Julson

Office: H-254
Phone: 979-209-7503

Professor: Dr. Amanda Palmer Julson

Office: H-254
Phone: 979-209-7503


Office hours by appointment for summer.


General principles of historical geology with emphasis on changes in Earth and life through time. Topics include an overview of the rock cycle and plate tectonic theory, with emphasis on stratigraphic principles, the fossil record, evolutionary theory and paleogeographic map interpretation. Laboratory work includes basic study of rocks, interpretation of depositional environments and tectonic settings, stratigraphic sequence analysis and fossil interpretation. Three class hours and three lab hours per week.


Prerequisites: GEOL 1403 or permission of instructor.

Core Curriculum Statement

This is a Core Course in the 42-Hour Core Curriculum of Blinn College. As such, students will develop proficiency in the appropriate Intellectual Competencies, Exemplary Educational Objectives, and Perspectives.


1. Relate topics from physical geology to Earth's history (e.g., plate tectonics, rock cycle).

2. Analyze the formation, classification and interpretation of sedimentary rocks and apply stratigraphic principles to interpret the rock record.

3. Apply relative and absolute dating principles to interpret the geologic history of rock units.

4. Explain evolutionary theory and relate it to changes in the fossil record through time.

5. Identify and classify fossils (including mode of preservation) and apply them to interpret age and environment of strata.

6. Characterize each time period of Earth's history (beginning with its origin) with regard to changes in the paleogeography, environment, and biota.


Bryan:  Textbook: Historical Geology 6th  Edition, Wicander & Monroe, 2009 (Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning).  Laboratory Manual: Blinn College Historical Geology Lab Manual (Fall 2012 Edition): Prentice Hall Custom Publishing.

Brenham: Textbook: Visualizing Earth History, 1e, by Loren Babcock 2009 (Wiley).  Laboratory Manual: Historical Geology Lab Manual: Prentice Hall Custom Publishing.

Course Requirements

This course has both a lecture and lab components of which participation is required, this include reading the assigned material before coming to class. Good reading habits and reading comprehension skills are important to doing well in this course.

Material in this section of the course will be delivered online; this means that the course content is delivered online (through eCampus). The weekly meeting period is for general assistance, review and lab tests.

Campus Visits: Unlike many other internet classes, online Science courses involve visits to campus.


On-Campus Lab Meetings:  Wednesdays 5:55-7:50 p.m. in Rm. G-216 (second floor of Bookstore Building, Bryan Campus). I will always be available during these hours for general assistance with assignments or labs, and I encourage those able to travel to campus to attend. Specimens will be available during the lab meeting to supplement the materials in the rock kit.

The meetings noted below are of particular importance (attendance is required for lab tests unless arrangements are made with me in advance for an alternate date):

June 5: Orientation

June 26: Review for Lab Midterm Exam - Bring your rock kit to review!

July 3: Lab Midterm Exam (Interpreting the Rock Record)

July 24: Review for Lab Final Exam

July 31: Lab Final Exam (Interpreting the Fossil Record)


On-Campus Exams

The Lecture Exams and Final Exam are regular paper tests administered at the Learning Center (Blinn Campus) or another college’s proctored testing center (if arranged with me well in advance); check their days and hours of operation, and plan your visit during the availability period for each test.

The lab exams are practical exams involving identification and/or interpretation of specimens or geological materials; they take place in the Geology Lab room (Rm. G-216, Bryan Campus).



This class has 3 lecture exams, 2 lab exams, 1 final exam, 10 sets of reading assignment questions, 10 lab exercises, and 10 discussion postings. Course grade is based on a total of 1000 class points. Breakdown of the point distribution and grading scheme is shown below.

Exams: The Lecture Exams and Final Exam are ordinary paper tests (i.e., not computer-based tests) to be completed at the Blinn College Learning Centers (or another college’s proctored testing center, as approved by me).  Please notify me as to which Learning Center you plan on using for your exams. Please bring a blue/green Accuscan/Advantage form, a #2 pencil, and your photo ID to these exams. Exams 1-3 may contain a variety of question formats including multiple choice, short answer, fill-in-the-blank, etc. No exam grades are dropped.

Laboratory Exams: The two Lab Exams are practical "hands-on" exams.  They will be administered at the Blinn College Bryan Campus, Room G-216 (see class schedule for dates and times). No lab test grades are dropped. There will be an extra credit group activity ONLY available at the regularly scheduled lab tests on the Bryan Campus (i.e., not available at off-campus lab test locations or alternate/make-up lab test dates).

Lab Exercises, Discussions, and Weekly Assignments: Late work for lab exercises and assignment questions (but not discussions) will be accepted the following day with a 10-point penalty. One score in each of these three categories will be dropped in calculating the averages for these components of the final grade.

Missed Classes and Exams:

Lecture Exams: There will be no make-ups for lecture exams or graded work. If a lecture exam is missed, the grade will be replaced with the grade (%) on the Final Exam if an acceptable excuse for the absence is presented to me in a timely manner. Excused absences include those officially recognized by Blinn College, plus a death in the family (with documentation), or an illness with a doctor’s certification. I will only allow this for ONE of the three lecture exams. An unexcused absence from an exam will result in a grade of zero.

Laboratory Exams: If a lab test is missed, you must discuss the situation with me and arrange to make up the test within one week of the test date, or you will receive a zero for the lab test.


Grading Item



Point Scale

Lecture Exams (three 100-pt exams)


1000 - 900 points = A

Weekly Reading Assignment Questions (average of scores)


899 - 800 points = B

Weekly Lab Exercises (average of scores)


799 – 700 points = C

Weekly Discussion Postings (average of scores)


699 - 600 points = D

Lab Exams (two 100-pt lab exams)


Below 600 points = F

Final Exam (20% of course grade)



Total Class Points: 



Blinn College Policies

Blinn College policies on civility, class attendance; scholastic integrity; students with disabilities; final grade appeals; and electronic devices as stated in the Blinn College Student Handbook, Faculty Handbook, Blinn College Catalog and specific technical program handbooks. All policies, guidelines and procedures in the Student and Faculty Handbook and the Board and Administrative Policy Manuals are applicable to this course

Civility Statement

Members of the Blinn College community, which includes faculty, staff and students, are expected to act honestly and responsibly in all aspects of campus life. Blinn College holds all members accountable for their actions and words. Therefore, all members should commit themselves to behave in a manner that recognizes personal respect and demonstrates concern for the personal dignity, rights, and freedoms of every member of the College community, including respect for College property and the physical and intellectual property of others.

      Civility Notification Statement. If a student is asked to leave the classroom because of uncivil behavior, the student may not return to that class until he or she arranges a conference with the instructor; it is the student’s responsibility to arrange for this conference. 

      This statement reflects step one in a possible four step process.  The Incivility Protocol is detailed in the Blinn College Student Handbook.

Attendance Policy

The College District believes that class attendance is essential for student success; therefore, students are required to promptly and regularly attend all their classes. A record of attendance will be maintained from the first day of classes and/or the first day the student’s name appears on the roster through final examinations. If a student has one week’s worth of unexcused absences during the semester, he or she will be sent an e-mail by the College District requiring the student to contact his or her instructor and schedule a conference immediately to discuss his/her attendance issues. Should the student accumulate two weeks’ worth of unexcused absences, he or she will be administratively withdrawn from class.

There are four forms of excused absences recognized by the institution:

  1. observance of religious holy days—The student should notify his or her instructor(s) not later than the 15th day of the semester concerning the specific date(s) that the student will be absent for any religious holy day(s);
  2. representing the College District at an official institutional function;
  3. high school dual credit students representing the independent school district at an official institutional function; and
  4. military service.

Other absences may be considered excused at the discretion of the faculty member with appropriate documentation.  A student enrolled in a developmental course is subject to College District-mandated attendance policies. Failure to attend developmental classes shall result in removal from the course as defined by the College District.

It is the student’s responsibility to officially drop a class he or she is no longer attending.  To officially drop a class the student must obtain the class withdrawal form from Enrollment Services, complete the class withdrawal form, secure the required signatures, and return the completed form to Enrollment Services. The last day to drop with a Q is according to the Academic Calendar.

Scholastic Integrity

Blinn College does not tolerate cheating, plagiarism, or any other act of dishonesty with regard to the course in which you are enrolled.  The following text defines the faculty member’s responsibility with regard to the scholastic integrity expectation for this and all courses at Blinn College.

It is the responsibility of faculty members to maintain scholastic integrity at the College District by refusing to tolerate any form of scholastic dishonesty.  Adequate control of test materials, strict supervision during testing, and other preventive measures should be utilized, as necessary, to prevent cheating or plagiarism.  If there is compelling evidence that a student is involved in cheating or plagiarism, the instructor should assume responsibility and address the infraction.  Likewise, any student accused of scholastic dishonesty is entitled to due process as outlined in Blinn College Board Policy FLB (Local).  The Scholastic Integrity Policy is located in the Blinn College Student Handbook. In a case of scholastic dishonesty, it is critical that written documentation be maintained at each level throughout the process.

Students with Disabilities

Blinn College is dedicated to providing the least restrictive learning environment for all students. Support services for students with documented disabilities are provided on an individual basis, upon request. Requests for services should be made directly to the Office of Special Populations serving the campus of your choice.  For the Bryan campus, the Office of Special Populations (Administration Building) can be reached at (979)209-7251.  The Brenham, Sealy and Schulenburg campuses are served by the Office of Special Populations on the Brenham campus (Administration Building Room 104) and can be reached at (979)830-4157.  Additional information can be found at

Final Grade Appeal

If a student wishes to appeal a final grade in a course, Blinn College Board Policy FLDB (Local), Course Grade Complaints, outlines the timeline for the appeal and the four steps in the appeal.  This policy is located in the Blinn College Student Handbook.

Electronic Devices

All the functions of all personal electronic devices designed for communication and/or entertainment (cell phones, pagers, beepers, iPods, and similar devices) must be turned off and kept out of sight in all College District classrooms and associated laboratories.  Any noncompliance with this policy shall be addressed in accordance with the College District civility policy (administrative policy).  This information is contained in Blinn College Board Policy FLB (Local).

Course Policies

How Attendance Policy Works in This Class:

For internet classes, this means that if a student fails to log into eCampus for ONE WEEK they will receive a warning from the College regarding unexcused absence from the class; after a SECOND WEEK with no logons (not necessarily consecutive) they will be dropped from the course (unless the situation has been discussed in advance with and approved by me).





(Textbook Chapter)

Lab Exercise

Due Dates  For Weekly Questions and Lab Exercises

Deadlines are always 11:55 p.m. Sunday

Campus Visits
Rm. G-216, Bryan Campus for Lab Meetings

Wed. 5:55-7:50 p.m.


Testing Center for Exams 1-3 (Thursday-Monday)






Introduction to Earth History (Ch. 1 and 3)

Review Basics of Physical Geology

Week 1 Questions, Discussion and Lab Exercises due June 9 (accepted late with 10 pt. penalty through June 10)


Answers available June 11

Wed., 6/5, 5:55-7:50 p.m.  
Orientation Meeting

(Rm. G-216, Bryan Campus)


IMPORTANT: Rock Kit Pick-Up







Earth Materials and Geologic Time (Ch. 2 and 4)

Rocks and Minerals

Geologic Time

Week 2 Questions, Discussion and Lab Exercises due June 16 (accepted late with 10 pt. penalty through June 17)


Answers available June 18

Wed., 6/12, 5:55-7:55 p.m.  

Open Lab: General assistance





Sedimentary Rocks, Stratigraphy (Ch. 5 and 6)


Sedimentary Rocks, Stratigraphy and Geologic Maps

Week 3 Questions, Discussion and Lab Exercise due June 23 (accepted late with 10 pt. penalty through June 24)


Answers available June 25

Wed., 6/19, 5:55-7:55 p.m.

Open Lab: General assistance






Solar System History (Hadean)(Ch. 8, pt. 1)


Space Rocks and Space Stratigraphy


Week 4 Questions, Discussion and Lab Exercise due June 30 (accepted late with 10 pt. penalty through July 1)


Answers available July 2

Wed., 6/26, 5:55-7:55 p.m.  


Review for Lab Midterm Test

(bring rock kit)

(Rm. G-216, Bryan Campus)


*EXAM 1 (Ch. 1-6 Weeks 1-3)

available June 27-July 1

*At Testing Center on a Blinn Campus or other approved facility






Precambrian (Archean and Proterozoic)(Ch. 8. pt. 2 and Ch. 9)


Precambrian Rocks

Week 5 Questions, Discussion and Lab Exercise due July 7 (accepted late with 10 pt. penalty through July 8)


Answers available July 9

Wed., 7/3, 5:55-7:55 p.m.

Lab Midterm

Interpreting the Rock Record
(Rm. G-216, Bryan Campus)







Fossils and Evolution (Ch. 7)


Introduction to Fossils: Taphonomy and Taxonomy

Week 6 Questions, Discussion and Lab Exercises due July 14 (accepted late with 10 pt. penalty through July 15)


Answers available July 16

Wed., 7/10, 5:55-7:55 p.m.  

Open Lab: General assistance






Paleozoic Earth and Life (Ch. 10-13)

Paleozoic Fossils and Communities

Week 7 Questions, Discussion and Lab Exercises due July 21 (accepted late with 10 pt. penalty July 22)


Answers available July 23

Wed., 7/17, 5:55-7:55 p.m.

Open Lab: General assistance


*EXAM 2 (Ch. 7-9, Weeks 4-6)

available July 18-22


*At Testing Center on a Blinn Campus or other approved facility






Mesozoic Earth and Life (Ch. 14-15)

Mesozoic Fossils and Communities

Week 8 Questions, Discussion and Lab Exercises due July 28 (accepted late with 10 pt. penalty through July 29)


Answers available July 30

Wed., 7/24, 5:55-7:55 p.m.

Review for Lab Final

(Rm. G-216, Bryan Campus)






Cenozoic Earth and Life (Ch. 16-18) and Hominid Evolution (Ch. 19)


Cenozoic Fossils and Communities


Week 9 Questions, Discussion and Lab Exercises due Aug. 4 (accepted late with 10 pt. penalty through Aug. 5)


Answers available Aug. 6


Wed., 7/31, 5:55-7:55 p.m.

Lab Final
(Rm. G-216, Bryan Campus)

Interpreting the Fossil Record


*EXAM 3 (Ch. 10-15, Weeks 7-8)

available Aug. 1-5


*At Testing Center on a Blinn Campus or other approved facility







Finals Week


Week 10 Questions, Discussion and Lab Exercise due Aug. 6





*At Testing Center on a Blinn Campus or other approved facility