week1 - Historical Geology (Kowalewski) WEEK 1 (Spring...

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Historical Geology (Kowalewski) WEEK 1 (Spring 2001) 1 WEEK 1 - Historical Geology Lecture 1. Historical Geology, Concept of Time in Geology Course Web Page http://www.cyber.vt.edu/geol1014/index.htm Historical Geology What is it? Why should you care? Catalog Description 1014: 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 of continents and ocean basins; mountain building; ice ages; motion of continents through time; evolution of life. Course objectives To learn: Methods used by geologists to study the history of the earth The historical sequence of geologic events How life has changed during geologic history Why should you care? Understanding geologic history is a necessary background for understanding the distribution of natural resources, environmental conditions and scenic variety on our home planet. Only with that knowledge can one make wise political and social judgments that will determine future conditions for our descendants. Relevance of This Course Understanding why the earth and life are as they are Background for serious political and social decisions in the future Example: 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 free oxygen (Iron Ore) The Gulf of Mexico was opening; Upwelling took place on the developing Gulf Coast 150 to 100 million years ago (Oil) Igneous intrusions occurred in Arizona and Utah 60 to 40 million years ago (Copper) Geologic Time The time scale — something you must learn How geologists diagram time sequences Perspective on large numbers
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Historical Geology (Kowalewski) WEEK 1 (Spring 2001) 2 Units of Time Time Units Used in Everyday Life Seconds Minutes Hours Days Weeks Months Years Centuries Millennia Time Units in History of Earth and Life Age (1,000,000 to 10,000,000 million years) Epoch (10 to 20 million) Period (23 to 80 million) Era (65 to 300 million) Eon (more than 500 million [>0.5 billion]) Examples of Events in Deep Time 4,400,000 years ago Oldest fossils (so far) of hominid lineage 50,000,000 years ago Beginning of collision of India with Asia (start building the Himalaya) 65,000,000 years ago Extinction of the dinosaurs 180,000,000 years ago Beginning of opening of the Atlantic Ocean Large Numbers What is a million? 1,000,000 1,000,000 $1 bills (@ 4" per 1,000) = a stack 330' (110 yrds) tall What is a billion? 1,000,000,000 To spend $1,000,000,000 at $1,000/day. [$365,250 per year] — 2,737 years and 310 days.
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week1 - Historical Geology (Kowalewski) WEEK 1 (Spring...

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