G 201: Earth Materials and Tectonics

Credits 4
Course Adoption Date
Course Revision Date
Audit Available

Introduces physical geology which deals with minerals, rocks, internal structure of the earth, and plate tectonics. Includes a weekly lab.

Physical Geology G201 is intended for both geology majors and nonmajors, and is the first term of a year of beginning college geology. Physical Geology is concerned with earth materials and geologic processes acting on the earth. G201 deals mainly with rocks and minerals, and introduces students to internally-driven geologic processes. This course can be used to partly fulfill graduation requirements for the Associate Degree, and has been approved for block transfer. The text and materials have been chosen by the faculty and the emphasis of the course will be the viewpoint of the author(s). This includes the concepts of geologic time and the evolution of the Earth.

Course Outcomes

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Use an understanding of rock and mineral characterization and classification to infer the geologic processes which formed individual rock and mineral specimens.
  • Analyze the development, scope, and limitations of plate tectonics and utilize plate tectonics to explain the Earth’s earthquake and volcanic activity as well as the occurrence of common rocks, minerals, and economic deposits.
  • Access earth science information from a variety of sources, evaluate the quality of this information, and compare this information with current models of solid earth processes, identifying areas of congruence and discrepancy.
  • Make field and laboratory-based observations and measurements of rocks and minerals and/or Earth’s internal process, use scientific reasoning to interpret these observations and measurements, and compare the results with current models of solid earth processes identifying areas of congruence and discrepancy.
  • Use scientifically valid modes of inquiry, individually and collaboratively, to critically evaluate the hazards and risks posed by volcanoes and earthquakes both to themselves and society as a whole, evaluate the efficacy of possible ethically robust responses to these hazards and risks, and effectively communicate the results of this analysis to their peers.
  • Assess the contributions of physical geology to our evolving understanding of global change and sustainability while placing the development of physical geology in its historical and cultural context.

Equivalent placement test scores also accepted. MTH 95 or MTH98 accepted.

Grading Options
Letter Grades
Additional Information

This course fulfills the following GE requirements: Science, Math, Computer Science/AS, Science, Math, Computer Science/AAOT, Science, Math, Computer Science/ASOT-B, Science, Math, Computer Science/AAS, Science, Math, Computer Science/AGS.

Evolution Statement

Regarding the teaching of basic scientific principles (such as geologic time and the theory of evolution), Oregon Coast Community College affirms the following statements about what is constitutes science.

  • Science is a non-dogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. A scientific theory is neither a guess, dogma, nor myth. Instead, theories are explanations for natural phenomena based on a preponderance of evidence. Theories developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance, but can be and often are revised through observation and experimentation.
  • The theory of evolution meets the criteria of a scientific theory. In contrast, creation science,” “intelligent design,” or similar designations are neither self-examining nor investigatory. “Creation science” is not considered a legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy and pseudoscience. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F.2d 1004).
  • Geology/General Science instructors at Oregon Coast Community College will teach the basic geologic principles (such as geologic time and the theory of evolution) not as absolute truth, but as the most widely accepted explanation for our observations of the world around us. Instructors will not teach that “creation science” is anything other than pseudoscience.
  • Because "creation science", "scientific creationism", "intelligent design", and similar designations are essentially religious doctrines that are at odds with open scientific inquiry, Oregon Coast Community College stands with such organizations such as the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, and the American Geological Institute in excluding these doctrines from our science curriculum.