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Blinn College • Bryan • Natural Science • Geology - GEOL

Physical Geology GEOL-1403

  • Fall 2013

  • Section SECTION_308 CRN-10748

  • 4 Credits

  • 08/26/2013 to 12/13/2013

  • Modified 08/28/2013

Meeting Times

Lect. MW 7:05–8:20 pm / Lab MW 8:30–9:45

Contact Information

Instructor: Dr. Robert M. Goll              

Office: Bookstore Bldg. G234  

Office Hours: Mon. – Thurs. 6:00-6:50 pm or by appointment

Telephone (Office): 979 209-7495



General principles of physical geology. An introduction to the origin, composition, structure and dynamics of planet Earth. Topics are explored within the general context of plate tectonic theory and include: minerals and rocks, weathering and erosion, geological time, earthquakes and volcanoes, mountain building, oceans, landforms and natural resources. Laboratory work involves the practical application of geological principles such a rock and mineral identification, geological and topographic map interpretation, and geological data analysis. Three class hours and three laboratory hours per week. Credit: Four semester hours.


Prerequisites: Exemption or passing score on reading section of THEA or alternative test or completion of READ 306 with a grade of C or higher.

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. Examine and analyze rock and mineral specimens and their occurrence and determine their context within the rock cycle.
  2. Comprehend plate tectonic theory and evaluate its significance to geology. Relate the nature of EarthÂ’s internal structure and tectonics to geological phenomena (e.g., volcanoes, earthquakes, deformational structures, etc.).
  3. Understand geologic time and the rock record, including formation of Earth and Solar System. Be able to apply principles of relative and numerical dating.
  4. Recognize the role of surficial processes (water, wind, ice and gravity) and identify resulting landforms; identification and interpretation of landforms based on topographic maps.
  5. Relate geology to human affairs; assess geohazard risk (earthquake, volcanoes, floods), and natural resources.


Textbook: Earth; Essentials of Earth 11th Edition, 2012, Lutgens,Tarbuck,  and Tasa.

Pearson Prentice Hall, Pearson Education Inc., Upper Saddle, New Jersey, 07458

Lab Manual: AGI/NAGT Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology 9th Edition, 2011, Busch (Ed.), Pearson Prentice Hall, Pearson Education Inc., Upper Saddle, New Jersey, 07458 

Five (6) “Advantage” Scantrons provided to the instructor during the first week of class

Lecture Notes: Copies of lecture notes and laboratory exercises are available on E-Campus (Go to - ). Students are responsible for taking additional class notes.

Supplemental Data and Information:      

Open Geology-aid Lab – Friday, G215 from 1:00-3:00 pm,

Course Requirements


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

 A total of 21 lab exercises will be assigned during the semester as shown in Section 11. Students will receive 2.5 points for correctly completing each exercise, for a total of 50 semester points. Lab exercises must be completed during the specified lab period, or during Open-Lab, or during office hours. Lab exercises cannot be completed “at home.”  

Lab Work will involve identification of rocks and minerals and determination of their physical and chemical properties. Topographic and geologic maps will be interpreted with the objective of recognition of geologic landforms. Other diverse exercises will acquaint students with the practical aspects of geology.

 The Final Exam will consist of two parts, with a total value of 200 points

Part 1 will consist of question bearing on the last two lectures, with a total value of 50 points

Part 2 will be a comprehensive review of all the preceding lectures, with a total value of 150 points. 

Optional “Bonus Projects” will be announced throughout the semester that will have a cumulative value of 20-30 points, These projects permit students to earn additional semester points outside of the testing environment.

Make-up exams will be offered only under extreme circumstances, and must be organized with the instructor before the exam date.





This class has 4 lecture exams, 3 lab exams, 1 final exam, and 20 lab exercises. Course grade is based on a total of 1000 class points. Breakdown of the point distribution and grading scheme is shown below.


Criteria for determining Final Grade:

Lecture, Exams: 50%

Lab, Exercises and Quizzes: 30%

Comprehensive Final Exam: 20%



Four (4) Lecture Exams @ 125 points each   = 500 points total                       

One (1) Final Lecture exam  =  200 points total                                  

Twenty-one (21) Lab Exercises  = 50 points total                                       

Three (3) Lab Quizzes @ 75 – 100 points each  =  250 points total                                                                       

   First Lab Quiz (rocks and minerals):100 points

    Second Lab Quiz (topographic maps & diverse exercises): 75 points

    Third Lab Quiz (identification of land forms on topo maps): 75 points

Point Distribution.Total = 1000 points                                                                         

                     900-1000 points = A

                     800 -899 points  = B

                     700-799 points  =  C

                     600-699 points  =  D

                     below 600 points = F





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

Make-ups: Make-up exams will be offered only under extreme circumstances, and must be organized with the instructor before the exam date.

Excused absences: Students must E-mail the instructor prior to missing class in order to be considered for an excused absence.

Attendance Policy Reminder:  Missing lecture, lab or both will count as one absence.  For classes that meet twice a week during the spring semester two absences counts as one week's absence.  Students accumulating two week’s worth of absences (four unexcused absences) will be dropped.

Problem Resolution: If you have a complaint about your class, you should first request a conference with your instructor to try and resolve the problems or issues. If the problems or issues cannot be resolved at the instructor level, you should request a conference with the Division Chair, Mr. Dwight Bohlmeyer, Science 241,

Eating and Drinking:  Eating and drinking are not allowed in classrooms or laboratories.



                       Lecture Topic                     Reading Assignment Lab Exercise


Aug 26           Intro to Geology                  EARTH, Ch. 1, p 2-35              


Aug 28           Intro to Geology                  EARTH, Ch. 1, p 2-35               Lab 1. Rock Cycle


WEEK 2                                                                                                                                       

Sept 2            LABOR DAY HOLIDAY


Sept 4             Plate Tectonics                     EARTH, Ch. 15, p 360-391        Lab 2, Plate Tectonics



Sept 9            Minerals & Matter                EARTH, Ch. 2, p 36-61            Lab 3, Mineral Properties


Sept 10          Minerals & Matter                EARTH, Ch. 2, p 36-61             Lab 4, Mineral Identification



Sept 16          Igneous Rocks                    EARTH, Ch. 3, p 63-89                Lab 5, Igneous Rocks


Sept 18          Volcanoes                          EARTH, Ch. 4, p 190-121             Lab 6, Rock & Mineral Review



Sept 23          EXAM #1   Chapters 1- 4 + 15                                                                            

                      Weathering                         EARTH, Ch. 5, p 122-147


Sept 25         Sedimentary Rocks             EARTH, Ch 6, p 148-175          Lab 7, Sedimentary rocks                                                                                                                                                                                                              


Sept 30          Metamorphic Rocks           EARTH, Ch 7, p. 176-195         Lab 8, Metamorphic Rocks


Oct 2             Crustal Deformation           EARTH, Ch 17, p 414-424         Lab 9, Deformation



Oct 7             Geologic Time                    EARTH, Ch 18, p 436-459         Lab Quiz #1


Oct  9            Geologic Time                    EARTH, Ch 18, p 436-459         Lab 10, Geologic Time                         



Oct 14           Earthquakes                       EARTH, Ch 14, p 334-354        Lab 11, Earthquake Hazards                                                                  

Oct 16           EXAM #2   Chapters 5 - 7 + 14 (part) + 17 (part) + 18

                      Earth’s Interior                    EARTH, Ch 14, p 355-359    


WEEK 9                                                                   

Oct 21           Ocean Floor                        EARTH, Ch 16, p 392-413        Lab 12, Topographic Maps 1


Oct 23           Mountain Building               EARTH, Ch 17, p 425-434        Lab 13, Topographic Maps 2                             


WEEK 10           

Oct 28           Planetary Geology                                                                     Lab 14, Topographic Maps 3                             


Oct 30           Earth Evolution                   EARTH, Ch 19, p 460-491            Lab 15, Topographic Maps 4


WEEK 11                                          

Nov 4            Atmosphere & Ocean                                                               Lab Quiz #2


 Nov 6           Shorelines                           EARTH, Ch 13, p 306-333        Lab 16, Coastal Processes                                  





Nov 11           EXAM #3   Chapters 8, 14 (part), 16, 17 (part) 19, & 20

                      Mass Movement                EARTH, Ch 8, p 196-213          


Nov 13          Running Water                   EARTH, Ch 9, p 214 - 237        Lab 17 Stream Processes I



Nov 18          Running Water                   EARTH, Ch 9, p 214 - 237        Lab 18, Stream Processes II


Nov 20           Groundwater                      EARTH, Ch 10, p 238-259        Lab 19, Groundwater




Nov 25          Glaciers                              EARTH, Ch 11, p 260-285         Lab 20, Glacial Processes


Nov 27          THANKSGIVING



Dec  3            Deserts                              EARTH, Ch 12, p 286 - 305       Lab 21, Dryland Landforms


Dec 5            EXAM #4     Chapters 8 - 12                         

                       Energy & Min Resources                                                      BONUS PROJECT



Dec 10          Climatic Change                 EARTH, Ch 20, p 492-523         Lab Quiz #3




Dec 13, 5:30 – 7:30           FINAL EXAM