Introduction to Physical Geology

This non-major undergraduate course was last taught in Winter 2018 and will be next taught in Winter 2019

During this course, you will:

  • Learn to describe the most important features of Earth’s physical, chemical, and biological evolution, from its formation as a planet to the present day.
  • Gain an appreciation for the scientific method as a tool to interpret the natural world,
  • Characterize the materials that make up the Earth, classify them based on their physical and chemical properties, and understand how/when/where they formed.
  • Investigate processes that shape this planet, from its deep interior to its surface; infer the physical, chemical, or biological factors that drive them; and become familiar with the methods used to study them.

What can you do with this knowledge?

  • Explore the world around you with a new perspective! Hiking through our local mountains, for example, you’ll be able to piece together a multi-million year history of rock formation, uplift, and landscape evolution. The diverse geology and beautiful landscapes of California and the US are yours to explore, interpret, and understand.
  • Make sense of Earth processes and events that affect your life, from seismic preparedness in California to the consequences of climate change to the physics of surf patterns on the Santa Barbara beaches.

Instructor: Zach Eilon
Office: Webb 2116

Topics to be covered:

  • Earth origins
  • Plate TectonicsMinerals 
  • Igneous, Metamorphic, and Sedimentary rocks
  • Volcanoes
  • Earthquakes & Seismology
  • Structural geology
  • Topographic and Geologic maps
  • Rock record and geologic time
  • Fossils: Life on Earth through deep time 
  • Rivers and groundwater
  • Oceans and coasts
  • Ice ages and Climate change & Overview
  • Beach processes 

There are no prerequisites for this class, but you must be concurrently enrolled in one of the lab sections that accompany the lecture class.

Essentials of Geology, S. Marshak, published by W.W. Norton. (Reading assignments are based on the 5th edition, but any edition is usable.)

Grades aree determined based on the following percentages:

  • Quizzes/Participation    10%
  • Lab                                       30%
  • Field Trip                            10%
  • Mid-Term Exam               20%
  • Final Exam                        30%

Academic Dishonesty:
Incidents of academic dishonesty (including plagiarism and cheating) will result in dismissal from the course and referral to the University administration for disciplinary action. For more information please refer to the UCSB General Catalog.