GEOL 105 Geology of National Parks

Through the lens of America’s national parks and monuments, this course examines the fundamental geologic processes that have shaped the incredible scenery of America’s national parks and monuments. The course explores plate tectonics, the rock cycle, mountain building processes, volcanism, stream and glacial erosion, and other processes responsible for sculpting these unique areas.  With an emphasis on landscape interpretation and understanding natural processes, this course focuses on parks and monuments of the western U.S.

Credits

3 Credits

General Education Competency

Scientific Way of Knowing

GEOL 105Geology of National Parks

Please note: This is not a course syllabus. A course syllabus is unique to a particular section of a course by instructor. This curriculum guide provides general information about a course.

I. General Information

Department

Engineering, Physical, and Computer Sciences Academic

II. Course Specification

Course Type

{5B2306C7-58E4-43D4-B8A5-26C59F89A734}

General Education Competency

Scientific Way of Knowing

Credit Hours Narrative

3 Credits

Semester Contact Hours Lecture

45

Semester Contact Hours Lab

0

Repeatable

No

III. Catalog Course Description

Through the lens of America’s national parks and monuments, this course examines the fundamental geologic processes that have shaped the incredible scenery of America’s national parks and monuments. The course explores plate tectonics, the rock cycle, mountain building processes, volcanism, stream and glacial erosion, and other processes responsible for sculpting these unique areas.  With an emphasis on landscape interpretation and understanding natural processes, this course focuses on parks and monuments of the western U.S.

IV. Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, a student will be able to:

V. Topical Outline (Course Content)

Course Content

·         Introduction to the National Park System

·         How science works

·         Basic geology concepts

o   Geologic Time

§  Relative and absolute dating

o   Rocks and the Rock Cycle

o   Plate Tectonics

·         Sedimentary Rocks: deposition and erosion

o   Parks: Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands

·         Fossils and fossilization

o   Parks: Dinosaur, Hagerman Fossil Beds, Petrified Forest

·         Volcanoes: magma, volcano types, rocks, and processes

o   Parks: Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, Yellowstone, Hawaii Volcanoes, Craters of the Moon, Crater Lake, Devils Tower

·         Mountain Building: processes, structures, landforms

o   Parks: Grand Teton, Death Valley, Great Basin, Rocky Mountain

·         Glaciers: processes and landforms

o   Parks: Glacier Bay, Yosemite, Glacier

·         Groundwater: processes and landforms

o   Parks: Carlsbad Caverns, Wind Cave

·         Wind: processes and landforms

o   Parks: Great Sand Dunes, White Sands

·         Human impact on national parks

VI. Delivery Methodologies

Assessment Strategy Narrative

·         Online lecture videos by the instructor

·         Field-based videos set in various settings by the instructor

·         Canvas quizzes

·         Video worksheets based on How the Earth was Made videos

·         Readings from OER or online textbook

·         Google Earth assignments allow students to explore and visit a variety of national parklands in a virtual framework. Students will make detailed observations, collect data, make measurements, and use maps in order to interpret past geologic events and current geologic processes.

·         Exams will be administered during the semester to test knowledge and application of concepts learned. Tests will include questions that apply both knowledge and problem-solving skills. 

·         Park Ranger Interpretive Talk Video. A big component of this course is landscape interpretation, the ability to deduce part or all of an area’s geologic history by observing clues in its landscape. In our national parks, rangers routinely provide interpretive talks and trips to visitors. For this assignment, you will play the role of a park ranger and provide a video of you giving a short interpretive talk about a specific landscape or location.

·         Human Impacts on National Parks Presentation.  Our national parks are currently in a state of peril due to rampant increases in visitation. This singular issue has presented a host of problems for the very parks we set aside to protect. For this assignment, you will choose one issue related to human impact on parklands. You will research the issue and explore possible solutions and present your findings via a narrated PowerPoint presentation.