Historical Geology (Kowalewski)WEEK 1 (Spring 2001)1WEEK 1 - Historical GeologyLecture 1. Historical Geology, Concept of Time in GeologyCourse Web Page http://www.cyber.vt.edu/geol1014/index.htmHistorical GeologyWhat is it?Why should you care?Catalog Description1014: HISTORICAL GEOLOGY. History of the earth as inferred from studies of rocks, fossils,and the earth's interior. Topics include: age of earth, rocks, and fossils; origin and history ofcontinents and ocean basins; mountain building; ice ages; motion of continents through time;evolution of life.Course objectivesTo learn:Methods used by geologists to study the history of the earthThe historical sequence of geologic eventsHow life has changed during geologic historyWhy should you care?Understanding geologic history is a necessary background for understanding the distribution ofnatural resources, environmental conditions and scenic variety on our home planet.Only with that knowledge can one make wise political and social judgments that will determinefuture conditions for our descendants.Relevance of This CourseUnderstanding why the earth and life are as they areBackground for serious political and social decisions in the futureExample: What permitted the U. S. A. to become the most powerful nation in the world?North America was in the tropics 300 million years ago and rivers drained rising mountains.(Coal)Cyanobacteria lived in shallow seas 2.2 to 1.8 billion years ago when there was little or no freeoxygen(Iron Ore)The Gulf of Mexico was opening; Upwelling took place on the developing Gulf Coast150 to 100 million years ago(Oil)Igneous intrusions occurred in Arizona and Utah60 to 40 million years ago(Copper)Geologic TimeThe time scale — something you must learnHow geologists diagram time sequencesPerspective on large numbers
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