Introductory Physical Geology Laboratory is an introductory-level laboratory course that explores the basic concepts and principles of physical geology. The course includes a Student Lab Workbook and a laboratory kit.
Each lesson includes specific learning objectives that help students to prepare for the lab lesson. Each lab lesson includes questions designed to help students analyze, review, and apply knowledge of the material covered in the lab course. The lab manual includes exercises and procedures that illuminate the central principles of physical geology. Reading the lab manual, watching the video clips and activities in the online component, and completing the lab exercises will provide the student with a learning experience equivalent to or better than a face-to-face course.
Introductory Physical Geology Laboratory, written by Greg P. Gardiner and Susan Wilcox with the support of a National Academic Advisory Team. This laboratory is also appropriate for a high school AP class. Additional information is provided under the “How to Adopt Course & Print Materials” tab below. To request access to an electronic review copy of the laboratory manual or to request a content list for the lab kit, please contact Kendall Hunt Publishing Company.
For access to Coast Learning Systems’ online course preview site, please complete a Preview Request Form.
Lesson Titles and Descriptions
1. Topographic Maps
2. Plate Tectonics
3. Rock Deformation and Mountain Building
4. Earthquakes and Seismology
Although composed of even smaller units called atoms, — minerals are the smallest units that can be seen with the unaided eye or a low-magnification hand lens. The consistency in a mineral species’ atomic arrangement from specimen to specimen, regardless of where the mineral crystallized, is one of nature’s amazing phenomena. Geologists have identified more than 2,800 mineral species, of which only fifteen or twenty are considered common. This exercise will feature some of the common rock – forming minerals and a few others of economic importance.
6. Igneous Rocks and Volcanism
- Granite is a rock composed of several minerals.
- Rock salt is composed of the mineral halite.
- Obsidian is composed of volcanic glass.
- Coal is composed of organic particles, chiefly carbonized plant remains.
Three major rock types have been recognized. They are igneous, rocks that formed by the cooling and crystallization of molten material within the earth, at the earth’s surface or on the seafloor; sedimentary, rocks that formed from sediment derived from preexisting rocks, by precipitation from saturated solutions, or by the accumulation of organic materials; and metamorphic, rocks that have been changed from preexisting rocks into new rocks with different textures and mineralogy because of the effects of heat, pressure, and/or chemical reactions. Igneous processes provide some of the most spectacular geologic activity at the earth’s surface. Igneous rocks also form deep within the earth and therefore provide important clues regarding the earth’s antiquity, the internal composition of the earth, and the earth’s geologic history. Thus, understanding igneous rocks and igneous rock processes is vitally important to understanding the earth itself.
7. Sedimentary Rocks
8. Metamorphism and Metamorphic Rocks
Considerable information, however, can be extracted from metamorphic rocks in spite of their variable and sometimes complex origin. Because minerals that form during metamorphism are sensitive to temperature and pressure, metamorphic rocks often serve as historical thermometers and barometers for Earth’s crust. Also, metamorphic rocks form in a wide variety of geologic settings. They form the central cores of Earth’s mountain ranges, are often associated with igneous intrusions, and occupy the vast and ancient interiors of the continents. Therefore, metamorphic rocks hold secrets related to the creation and evolution of the continents — a process spanning at least 4 billion years.
9. Geologic Time
The first real attempt at establishing the age of Earth was made in 1644 by John Lightfoot (1602–1675), who was the Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University. Lightfoot claimed that Earth was created at 9:00 A.M. on October 26 in 3926 B.C In 1658, James Usher (1581–1656), the Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland, claimed a date of October 23 in 4004 B.C. Both of these men, being scholars of theology, determined the age of Earth by using the Old Testament Book of Numbers to calculate how long it would take to form all of the tribes of Israel beginning with Adam and Eve. While many today would scoff at such an approach, one must understand that both men were simply using what they considered to be the most reliable source of information available, which to them was the Bible. Usher’s calculated date was entered as a footnote into the Great Edition of the English Bible in 1701 by Bishop Lloyd. For nearly a hundred years afterward, to deny the 4004 B.C. date for the creation of Earth was tantamount to heresy, a charge that few thinkers of the day welcomed.
10. Mass Wasting
From the moment that the regolith (i.e., the layer of unconsolidated material accumulated above bedrock) forms, a series of processes that remove the regolith materials, carry them off, and eventually deposit them into the ocean. The process that starts this journey is called mass wasting. The distance the regolith materials are carried by mass wasting is short, usually no further than from the tops of hills to the adjacent valley floor. Once the regolith materials reach the valley floor, the processes of mass wasting will have come to an end while one or more of the agents of erosion can pick up the materials and continue their journey to the sea. Of the three principal agents of erosion — streams, glaciers, and the wind — the major agent is streams. Anywhere water can exist, streams will be the major agent of erosion, including in the driest desert.
Most valleys contain a stream channel. While the channel may not always contain water, a stream channel will be present because most valleys are the result of stream erosion. Because most stream systems eventually flow to the ocean, once they pick up the materials transported to the valley floor by mass wasting, they complete the task of transporting the products of weathering to the ocean.
11. Streams and Groundwater
- Some water is absorbed into the ground by infiltration.
- A certain amount of the precipitation returns to the atmosphere by evaporation.
- Plants use a portion of the precipitation during photosynthesis and some is returned to the atmosphere by transpiration.
12. Oceans and Coastlines
13. Glaciers and Deserts: Climatic Features
14. Economic Geology and Resources
Coal forms by burial and alteration of terrestrial organic material. In the eastern United States the coals are mined by underground methods, while strip mining is common in the western part of the country. The United States has the largest deposits of coal that will continue to be mined if the environmental problems associated with burning of coal are resolved.
The use of petroleum products spread slowly in what has been called the “kerosene” age (1860–1900), but the development of the internal combustion engine near the beginning of the twentieth century set off a phenomenal growth of the petroleum industry. Consequently, we are now in what might be regarded as the gasoline age,” for gasoline is the chief product being derived from petroleum. In addition, thousands of chemical compounds, called petrochemicals, are made from petroleum. Petroleum, therefore, has become one of the most important natural resources of modern civilization.
National Academic Advisory Team
Edward (Erik) Bender, M.S., Orange Coast College
Theodore Erski, M.A., McHenry County College
Roberto Falero, M.S., DPRA, Inc.
Gail Gibson, Ph.D., Florida Community College at Jacksonville—Kent Campus
Jonathan Kuespert, M.S., M.B.A., BreitBurn Energy Management Company
Michael Leach, M.S., M.A., New Mexico State University
James McClinton, M.S., Eastern New Mexico University—Roswell
Joseph Mraz, M.S., Santa Fe Community College
Jay P. Muza, Ph.D., Broward College
Douglas Neves, Ph.D., Cypress College
Kathy Ann Randall, M.S., Lincoln County Campus of the Flathead Valley Community College
Kelly Ruppert, M.S., California State University, Fullerton, and Coastline Community College
Richard Schultz, Ph.D., C.P.G., Elmhurst College
Debbie Secord, M.S., Coastline Community College
William H. Walker, Ph.D., Thomas Edison State College
Curtis Williams, M.S., California State University, Fullerton
Jan (Jay) Yett, M.S., Orange Coast College
Tanya Atwater, Ph.D., Tectonics Geologist, University of California, Santa Barbara
Edward (Erik) Bender, Orange Coast College
Kelly Bovard, California State University, Fullerton
Patricia Butcher, California State University, Fullerton
Theodore Erski, McHenry County College, Illinois
Roberto Falero, DPRA, Inc.
Gail Gibson, Florida Community College at Jacksonville
Kate Hutton, Ph.D., Seismologist, California Institute of Technology
Jonathan Kuespert, BreitBurn Energy Management Company
Michael Leach, New Mexico State University
James McClinton, Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell
Joseph Mraz, Santa Fe Community College
Jay P. Muza, Broward College, Florida
Douglas Neves, Cypress College
Bruce Perry, M.S., Geologist & Oceanographer, California State University, Long Beach
Kathy Ann (“Katie”) Randall, Lincoln County Campus of the Flathead Valley Community College
Kelly Ruppert, M.S., Geologist, California State University, Fullerton
Richard Schultz, Elmhurst College
Debra Secord, Ph.D., Geologist, Coastline Community College
William H. Walker, Thomas Edison State College
Curtis J. Williams, M.Sc., M.A., California State University, Fullerton, and Geologist, Gibraltar Associates, Inc.
Jay R. Yett, M.S., Geologist, Orange Coast
We have been using Coast Learning’s Introductory Physical Geology Lab Manual for more than two years now. It is an exceptional resource that not only gives our students a hands-on lab experience, but also presents the material in an easy-to-understand, accessible manner. We are more than pleased with Coast Learning’s product and would recommend it to anyone delivering physical geology labs in an online format.”
—Mark A. Tinsley, Associate Dean, School of Health Sciences, Liberty University
This online course is hosted and provided in a Moodle® (LMS) shell, and instructors can link from their institution’s LMS or send their students directly to the class URL. Coast Learning Systems provides instructor and student technical support via an electronic help desk, which is monitored 7 days a week. Our goal is to make sure you enjoy teaching with our content and that your students have an engaging and positive learning experience.
The Online Course Request Form should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the start of your class.
Introductory Physical Geology Laboratory
Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, ISBN: 978-1-4652-0511-7