Earth & the Environment
An introduction to environmental geology and geomorphology through study of the processes that form the earth and its surface features. A mandatory one day field trip will be held.
Two lectures, one tutorial, one lab (two hours); one term Cross-List(s): ENVIR SC 1G03, EARTH SC 1G03 Not open to students with credit or registration in ISCI 1A24.
Time/Term Offered: Spring Term One 2013
Instructor: Dr. John Maclachlan
Room: GSB 305
Tel:(905) 525.9149 ext. 26334
Senior Teaching Assistant:
Aim of the Course
The aim of this course is to introduce students to the many dynamic geological and geomorphological processes that shape the Earth and its surface and subsurface environments. The relationships between Earth processes and human populations will also be considered. The course begins with an examination of the formation and composition of the Earth, the processes of plate tectonics, and the impact these processes have on human populations through earthquakes and volcanism. Students are introduced to principles of mineral and rock identification, Earth movement and structure, and relative and absolute determination of geologic time. Processes operating on the surface of the Earth that are responsible for the erosion of geological materials, their transport, and their deposition as sediments are also examined. Particular attention is given to geomorphic and sedimentologic processes operating in fluvial, glacial, periglacial, and coastal environments and their impact on human populations and activities. The course is richly illustrated with both local and ‘global’ case studies and environmental applications.
Students will gain rock and mineral identification skills in both field and lab settings and will learn how to visualize and interpret 3-dimensional geologic structures. Topographic map reading skills will also be introduced. Students will gain valuable field skills in geological and geomorphological observation, recording, and interpretation through field work in the local area, including the Niagara Escarpment. Throughout the course, students are provided with the opportunity to enhance both their written and oral communication skills in their lab assignments.
The course is designed so that nearly half of the lab material is taught in an inquiry-based learning format. This will allow students to develop research, analysis and communication skills and enhance their function as lifelong learners.
Lectures will occur on Monday and Wednesday morning (9am-noon) in BSB 119 as per the attached schedule. ALL students are expected to attend ALL lectures. Complete lecture materials will NOT be posted on Avenue. Lecture outlines will be available on Avenue. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that notes are obtained for any classes missed.
Labs will take place during regular class time (Monday, Wednesday 9:00am – noon) and attendance at labs is mandatory. For a lab schedule check the timetable below. Students who miss more than one lab without approved documentation will automatically fail the course. There is also a mandatory half-day field trip to examine sites in the local area. The field trip will be held on Wednesday May 22nd during class time. Sign up for the field trip will be announced in class.
Assignments submitted late will be penalized, i.e. 25% of the mark obtained will be subtracted for each day of lateness.
Avenue Information (http://avenue.mcmaster.ca)
Avenue is an online system that will be used in this class for communicating information relating to the course (e.g. previous years’ tests and exams, field trip arrangements, quiz instructions, lab preparation etc.). Quizzes will be completed on Avenue. To log into Avenue, use your MUGSI login and password. See the Avenue homepage address above for more instructions if you need them. You are required to log on to Avenue at least twice a week for course updates.
If you encounter any technical problems with this service go to the following website for support: http://avenue.mcmaster.ca/help/.
Please note that it is not the responsibility of the teaching staff of ENVIR SC 1G03 to assist you with Avenue issues.
Required Text Books/Course materials:
1. Plummer, McGeary, Carlson, Eyles and Eyles 2007. Physical Geology, 2nd Canadian edition.
2. Custom Courseware, Environmental Science 1G03 Lab Manual.
Labs (4 @ 9%) 36%
Quizzes (2 @ 3%) 6%
Midterm (Fri. Oct 14th) 18%
Final Exam 40%
Academic dishonesty consists of misrepresentation by deception
or by other fraudulent means and can result in serious consequences,
e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation
on the transcript (notation reads: “Grade of F assigned for
academic dishonesty”), and/or suspension or expulsion from the
The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s
own or for which other credit has been obtained.
Improper collaboration in group work.
Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.
It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes
academic dishonesty. For information on the various kinds of academic
dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at http://www.mcmaster.ca/policy/Students-AcademicStudies/AcademicIntegrity.pdf
The University reserves the right to change any aspect
of this course outline.
The instructor and university reserve the right to modify elements of the course during the term. The university may change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances. If either type of modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. It is the responsibility of the student to check their McMaster email and course websites weekly during the term and to note any changes.