Lecture 1

Lecture 1 - WELCOME TO EPSC 181: ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY...

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Unformatted text preview: WELCOME TO EPSC 181: ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY Monday/Wednesday 2:35-3:55 Otto Maass 217 Professor: Sarah Hall, sarah.hall@mcgill.ca MATERIALS TEXT: Environmental Geology, 9th edition by Edward Keller CLICKER: Registered and active by next class! WebCT: Make sure you can access! Check regularly! MY OFFICE HOURS Wed. 4-5p.m. , or By Appointment Office: FDA 331 COURSE STRUCTURE THREE MODULES: 1)  Geologic Principles 2)  Earth Systems, Pollution, Hazards 3)  Energy and Resources Syllabus LEARNING GOALS: 1) Develop an understanding on important Earth systems and how they interact 2) Critically evaluate scientific and popular literature related to environmental and geologic topics 3) Be able to describe the main environmental issues facing the world and society in relation to geologic principles 4) Understand the geologic processes involved with the major geohazards and how to predict and/or prepare for them 5) Be able to use typical geologic tools: topographic and geologic maps, field observations Syllabus WEEKLY SCHEDULE Module 1: Geologic Principles Week 1 – Introduction Week 2 – Scientific Method, Origins, Time, Earth Materials Week 3 – Earth Structure, Plate Tectonics, Maps, Scale Week 4 –Surface Processes, Oceans, Atmosphere, Cycles TA: Hao Bui thi.h.bui@mail.mcgill.ca Office: FDA 349 Office hours: Mon, Tue 1-2p.m. Syllabus – weekly schedule WEEKLY SCHEDULE Module 2: Earth Systems, Pollution, and Hazards Week 5 – Rivers, Floods, Soil, Erosion Week 6 – Groundwater, Pollution, Weather Week 7 – Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Landslides, Volcanoes Week 8 – Study Week – NO CLASS! Week 9 – Coast Hazards, Review, MID TERM QUIZ TA: Rob Carver robert.carver@mail.mcgill.ca Office: FDA 131b Office hours: Tue 3-4, Wed 1-2 Syllabus – weekly schedule WEEKLY SCHEDULE Module 3: Environment, Energy, and Resources Week 10 – Climate Change, Energy and Resources Intro Week 11 – Ores and Fossil Fuels Week 12 – Alternative Energy, Conservation, Sustainability Week 13 – Waste, Recycling, Food, Lifestyle Week 14 – Policy, FIELD TRIP, Review (special Friday class!) Week 15/16 – FINAL EXAM Lifestyle Project during these three weeks TA: Kayla Helt kayla.helt@mail.mcgill.ca Office: FDA 346 Office hours: TDB Syllabus – weekly schedule HOW YOU WILL BE GRADED IN THIS COURSE: Assignments 30% Field Trip 5% Mid Term Quiz 15% Lifestyle Project 25% Final Exam 25% Tests: There will be one mid-term quiz during the semester (15%) plus a cumulative final exam (25%) that together will make up 40% of your grade. Evaluation and Assessment ASSIGNMENTS You will have 7 assignments that together make up 30% of your grade The assignments will be due roughly every 2 weeks and will deal with content discussed in class. Assignments should be turned in at the beginning of class on the day that it is due unless another method is explicitly stated. Late assignments and projects will not be accepted. In accord with McGill University’s Charter of Students’ Rights, students in this course have the right to submit in English or in French any written work that is to be graded. Evaluation and Assessment Project: ‘The Lifestyle Project” Three weeks of reducing your impact on the environment through modifying habits related to: heat, garbage, electricity, water, driving, eating and activism. You will keep a journal where you document your journey during these three weeks and will turn it in each week. The project will be worth 25% of your total grade You will start the project on Mon. March 14 and you will end the project Mon. April 4. If you do not wish to participate in this project, instead, you can write a 15 page research paper. Come talk to me before March 14th! Evaluation and Assessment ORIGINAL WORK: If you are caught committing an academic offence, you will (at least) receive a zero grade for the assignment/test/project. McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore all students must understand the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offences under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures (see www.mcgill.ca/students/srr for more information) L'université McGill attache une haute importance à l'honnêteté académique. Il incombe par conséquent à tous les étudiants de comprendre ce que l'on entend par tricherie, plagiat et autres infractions académiques, ainsi que les conséquences que peuvent avoir de telles actions, selon le Code de conduite de l'étudiant et des procédures disciplinaires (pour de plus amples renseignements, veuillez consulter le site www.mcgill.ca/integrity). Evaluation and Assessment WebCT QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, ANY ERRORS!? Now….. Introductions Then….. What is Environmental Geology? Why is important to study? I’m an Assistant Professor in the Earth and Planetary Science Department. Other classes I teach: Field Studies - ~two week summer course focused on field methods in Geology Independent Study – semester-long student research project Research: GEOMORPHOLOGY Geo = Earth Morph = Shape Ology = the study of I study the processes that shape the surface of the earth or the Surface Processes Two main research themes: Glacial Geomorphology Tectonic Geomorphology Two main research themes: Glacial Geomorphology – reconstruct the paleoclimate history of the last ~30,000 years I do this by Identifying, mapping and dating glacial features (i.e. Moraines, Lakes). Tectonic Geomorphology – locate and describe the styles and timescales of active faults. I do this by Identifying, mapping and dating tectonic features (i.e. Faults). u d N TA: Hao Bui thi.h.bui@mail.mcgill.ca Office: FDA 349 Office hours: Mon, Tue 1-2p.m. TA: Rob Carver robert.carver@mail.mcgill.ca Office: FDA 131b Office hours: Tue 3-4, Wed 1-2 TA: Kayla Helt kayla.helt@mail.mcgill.ca Office: FDA 346 Office hours: TDB Module 1 Module 2 Module 3 TA Introduction Environmental Geology – what is it? Geology is the study of the Earth (Geo = Earth, ology = the study of) Environmental Geology is applied geology. The field of Environmental Geology uses the principles of Geology to assess and solve environmental problems/issues. What are some examples of topics in geology? What are some examples of some environmental issues? Topics in Geology: Hydrologic (and other) Cycles Plate tectonics, Earth Structure Geologic Time Glaciers and Surface Processes Rocks and Minerals Ocean and Atmosphere Environmental Issues: Resources Natural Hazards Pollution Waste Land-Use Energy Five Main Concepts 1) Human population growth is the main environmental problem 2) Sustainability is the preferred solution to many environmental problems 3) Understanding Earth Systems and rates of change are important in addressing and solving environmental problems 4) Natural hazards must be recognized and avoided whenever possible 5) Scientific studies of environmental issues produce multiple solution pathways – which ones we choose reflects our value system These are outlined and discussed in Chapter 1 of Keller (your textbook) Human Population Growth Exponential Growth: The growth of a population at a constant Why is this the number one factor in Environmental percentage rate (Growth Rate) due to powerful feedbacks issues?: Increases in population (food, water, energy) and this creates increased Current human growth rate = stress on the environment 1.2 percent per year Growth Rate: The rate of increase of a population (as a requires increased time percentage) per resources Typical exponential growth curves Doubling Time: The time it takes for a population to double 1960-2000: 40 years for the population to double 1830-1930: 100 years for the population to double What was happened between 1900 and 1960?! Industrialization! Resource explosion! Two big contributors to population growth rate: Birth Rate and Death Rate The Habitable Planet Why is population growth important? Because population growth is intimately related to resource availability. No more resources (food, water, energy, etc)…..population decreases. Lack of resources limit population growth We aren’t bacteria… But this is a nice illustrative example of population and resource relationships Easter Island Example So again…. the number one factor in Environmental issues is human population growth because: Larger populations require more ~400AD: Polynesians settle the resources (food, forested increased water, energy) and this, in turn, createsisland stress on the environment By 1500: 15,000-30,000 inhabitants! Complex society – agriculture, chickens, fishing… Lesson: Limited resources cannot support an ever-growing human population Degradation – loss of resources By 1700: only ~2000 people Five Main Concepts 1) Human population growth is the main environmental problem Central to discussing these concepts is your ability to 3) Understanding Earth Systems and rates of change are important in addressing and solving environmental problems understand and use ORDERS 4) Natural hazards must be recognized and avoided OF MAGNITUDE. whenever possible 2) Sustainability is the preferred solution to many environmental problems 5) Scientific studies of environmental issues produce multiple solution pathways – which ones we choose reflects our value system These are outlined and discussed in Chapter 1 of Keller (your textbook) What is an order of magnitude? This refers to a logarithmic scale – usually we talk about base 10 (powers or factors of 10): 0.001, 0.01, 0.1, 1, 10, 100, 1000…..keep adding zeros! Or this could be written as: 10-3, 10-2, 10-1, 100 or just 1, 101or just 10, 102, 103… the exponent tells you how many zeros to add or subtract! Another way to think about it is: 10 x 1 = 10 = 101 10 x 10 = 100 = 102 10 x 10 x 10 = 1000 = 103 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 = 10,000 = 104 Wrap up…. ORDER OF MAGNITUDE We use logarithmic scales to show changes over a large range or over orders of magnitude Some example…. Earthquake Strength (Moment Magnitude/Richter Scale) pH Timescales Wrap up…. Hydrogen Acceptor pH scale Hydrogen Donator http://www3.oes.edu pH scale – how acidic or basic a solution is… Small Quakes Large Quakes uwgb.edu Earthquake Strength – Moment Magnitude Order of Magnitude Estimation! From time to time we’ll break up class with a few “order of magnitude problems to solve on the spot – in class! Problems like…. How many taxi cabs are in Montreal? How many disposable diapers are used in Canada per year? How tall can a tree grow? What is the total mass of aluminum cans thrown away in Canada each year? How many kilograms of poutine are consumed in Quebec per day? Okay….some are more useful than others…. The point: to use simple math, exercise your brain, test ideas (“back of the envelope style”), evaluate “cocktail knowledge” and popular science claims. Order of Magnitude Estimation Real quick OOM estimating question: How many students have sat in this particular classroom before (in history) ? 1) 100 or 102 – one hundred 2) 1000 or 103 – one thousand 3) 10,000 or 104 – ten thousand 4) 100,000 or 105 – one hundred thousand! 5) 1,000,000 or 106 – a million! 6) 10,000,000 or 107 – ten million! Clicker opportunity! How did you figure this out? 1) Just guessed 2) Quick calculation based on guesses 3) Quick calculation based on some actual numbers 4) didn’t bother to answer The beauty of these questions is that nothing is completely right or completely wrong, but the answer can still be quite useful! Clicker opportunity! See you next week! Please have your clicker and textbook registered if not already! Check WebCT for reading assignment BEFORE class. ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/15/2011 for the course EPSC 181 taught by Professor Hall during the Spring '11 term at McGill.

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